Court convicts Israeli who joined ISIS two years ago with his family

Two years ago the Zbeidat family from Sakhnin, Israel, left to join ISIS in Syria, and returned a year later. Today (Tuesday), the father, Wissam Zbeidat was convicted in the Haifa District Court of all charges brought against him, as was his wife Sabrin who was convicted and sentenced three months ago to four years in prison.
Wissam and Sabrin Zbeidat Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

The Haifa District Court convicted this morning (Tuesday) Wissam Zbeidat, a Sakhnin resident in his 30s, of joining ISIS with his wife and three children.  Zbeidat was convicted approximately three months after his wife Sabrin was sentenced to four years in prison.

As previously reported by JOL, Zbeidat traveled with his wife and three children to Syria two years ago, where he fought for ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Zbeidat claimed during his trial that he was dragged by his wife, Sabrin to the ranks of ISIS and that she was the dominant figure in the story.

However, the court ruled that it was naive to state that the defendant was dragged by his wife. "The impression I got is that the defendant and his wife built a defense in which his wife would take responsibility, and perhaps since she is a woman and the mother of three children, she would receive a more lenient punishment," the judge stated during the verdict. "The defendant also believed that he would be given a light punishment for the same reasoning."

The court decided to convict the defendant on all charged offenses: contact with a foreign agent, an unlawful departure from Israel, membership in an illegal organization, membership in a terrorist organization and providing services for an illegal organization; all in addition to prohibited military training he received during his fighting in Syria and Iraq.

Sabrin Zbeidat in court Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

According to Sabrin's verdict, the couple joined ISIS together with their three children. While Zbeidat fought for ISIS in Mosul, his wife Sabrin worked in a hospital in the city. The kids, aged 3, 6, and 8-years of age, were enrolled in a local school. Finally, Zbeidat’s father went to Turkey and managed to return the family to Israel.

Along with Sabrin’s prison sentence, she was fined NIS 8,000. “The defendant identified with a terror organization,” read the Judge’s verdict. "In view of the nature of the offenses and the significant danger the participation of citizens and residents of Israel in terrorist organizations abroad poses to the current state’s security, I believe that in this case it is necessary to deter many people from committing similar offenses as those committed by Zbeidat, and that there is a real chance that the severity of her punishment will act as a deterent."

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