D3.1 Country Report | April 2021

Authors: Yaakov Gal and Sophia Solomon, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

The goal of this report is to map out Israel’s national security threats and its functioning mechanisms that indicate radicalisation in violent acts towards the civilian population in parallel to de-radicalisation processes led by governmental institutions and civic society movements.

For the past two decades, Israel has been dealing with two main cases of terrorism: Palestinian jihadist and radical right-wing religion-based threats. The first regards Muslim extremists opposing the Israeli Zionist state by three main nationalist movements: Hamas and Palestinian Islamist-Jihad (PIJ) on the southwestern border with Gaza, and Hizballah on the northern border with Syria and Lebanon. The second group of extremists has emerged from Jewish post-Zionist radical right-wing groups who oppose any territorial control by Palestinians and/or Israeli-Arabs within the borders of the Israeli Jewish state.

After summarizing the national political environment to give a relevant contextual background, we used a variety of available data bases to present the possible agents of these radicalisation processes. We took into consideration the structure and main agenda of conflicting radical opinions and acts of violence, racism, and xenophobia in public space, focusing on a number of study cases and drawing a line between agents of violence and their sources of legitimation. This report also analyses the possible influence of de-radicalisation stakeholders as a countering process of de-radicalisation at the individual (micro), organisational (meso), societal (macro) levels, including state and non-state actors that are trying to shift from violent to non-violent strategies and tactics. Finally, the conclusions show that historical, political, and sociological processes should not be disconnected from (de) radicalisation developments, as they are attached to the presence of a liberal democracy approach within civic life.

These findings are based on data taken from academic resources, data-based statistics from various research institutions, military and national security reports, official government statements, news reports, and social media posts to display the wide-ranging expressions of (de) radicalisation in everyday public space.