An Israeli teacher from Hura in the Negev has been sentenced to four years in jail for attempting to join the Islamic State group and for preaching support for the terrorist organization during Friday sermons at his local mosque.
Mohammed Abu Elkyan, 29, confessed as part of a plea bargain to conspiring to commit a crime and trying to conduct activities as part of an illegal organization.
Abu Elkyan, married with five children, was a teacher at an elementary school. He established a cell that held meetings in hidden locations, during which he engaged a "spiritual teacher" who passed on content related to the Islamic State group. The cell plotted to leave Israel for Syria.
The court ruling is part of an investigation during which indictments were also filed against the other members of the cell, all from the same tribe: Bashir Abu Elkyan, Akram Abu Elkyan, Issa Abu Elkyan and Sharif Abu Elkyan. The affair was investigated by the Shin Bet and special police.
Between 2013 and 2015, between once and twice a week, Mohammed Abu Elkyan took part in gatherings of IS supporters at the next to the town's mosque. One of the participants was an Israeli called "Othman," who eventually left for Syria, joined IS and was killed in battle.
In a March 2015 meeting, Abu Elkyan spoke with his friends in the cell and suggested that they leave Israel via Jordan and then head to Saudi Arabia, where they would pose as pilgrims.
They then registered for "religious activities," paid 200 dinars, sent out their passports and planned to leave within the next month, in time for Ramadan. They planned to stay in Saudi Arabia for one day, find a hiding place and establish contact with people that could assist them in getting to Syria.
Lawyer Masad Masad from the southern district prosecutor's office said that the departure of Israeli Arabs to fight in Syria and their return to Israel would turn into "extreme jihadist ideology being brought to Israel, along with accumulated military experience and capabilities."