Hamas and ISIS graffiti were removed from the City Hall Building and other locations in Umm Al Fahm after local residents campaigned for this over the past year: “It is better late than never.” Local residents opposed to radical Islam have faced threats from ISIS and Hamas supporters inside the city. In order to protect them, Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara believes that anyone who supports ISIS or Hamas should be expelled from Israel.

Photo Credit: Umm Al Fahm Municipality Facebook Page

In the framework of the Umm Al Fahm Municipality Good Deeds Day, Hamas and ISIS graffiti was removed from the City Hall building and other locations within the city. According to a local resident, “Umm Al Fahm is a city in Israel, the City Hall is paid for by the Israeli government and yet there was Hamas and ISIS signs all over the city including the City Hall in the center of the city.  The City Hall does not appear like a City Hall. For the past year, I have been trying to fix the situation by getting rid of the hatred. It took a year and the municipality at first was not responsive but they should be commended for finally taking action and erasing the hatred. It is better late than never.”

It was been reported to JerusalemOnline that residents who are opposed to Hamas and ISIS hatred have been threatened and some residents have been forced to leave the city due to their opposition to the hatred: “Umm Al Fahm is part of Israel but is so separated from Israel. The head of the Islamic Movement is from here. There is a lot of support for ISIS and Hamas. 98% of the city voted for the Joint Arab List, which doesn’t consider Hezbollah a terror organization. Anti-Semitism is taught in the schools. Even if there are people supportive of peaceful coexistence, they won’t talk about it to the public. After I did, I had terror supporters threatening me on Facebook, social media, etc. It was an ugly situation.”

In the past, one Umm Al Fahm resident who was active in trying to remove the pro-Hamas and pro-ISIS graffiti received much criticism since the symbols of ISIS are also the symbols of Islam’s Prophet and this resident was accused of taking actions against Islam. However, some people congratulated this person for getting rid of the hatred.  According to this resident, it is better for the Umm Al Fahm Municipality to be leading the action so that no one person will be facing backlash from the ISIS and Hamas supporters within the city for erasing the Hamas and ISIS graffiti. Therefore, this person views this as a welcoming development.

Israel’s Deputy Minister for Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara, who is a member of the country’s Druze community, stressed in an exclusive interview with JerusalemOnline that ISIS, Hamas and all of the other Islamist extremist groups are opposed to freedom and should not be given the opportunity to go after Israeli Arabs opposed to extremism: “They do activities against Israel but they also do so much against the Muslims themselves. In Umm Al Fahm, they must understand that those who support Hamas, ISIS and the other extremist groups must not stay in Israel. This could allow such people not to be afraid. We are fighting against religious fanaticism and we have to deal with this.”

According to Kara, most of the Israeli Arab population is against radical Islam but they are afraid to speak about it loudly: “Maybe there is only 1 percent who are in solidarity with the extremists. I think they are looking for solutions throughout the Islamic world to stop this extremism. I am heading the campaign here against ISIS and the extremists. I do everything here in the government to change the law.” However, Kara noted that the problem is that too many Israelis think they are in Europe rather than in the Middle East: “We don’t have a system in place to stop the extremism. We have to change the law or we will have a problem. Now, we can’t send out a family whose son is part of ISIS. We have to change the law for that. This is not easy. This is not part of the Israeli mentality. This is the Middle Eastern mentality. We have to find solutions for this situation makes the whole area dangerous.”

Photo Credit: Umm Al Fahm Municipality Facebook Page