What doesn't ISIS attack Israel?

I was looking at a map over the weekend and had somehow forgotten that Syria bordered Israel… although I certainly know about the Golan Heights.

Since ISIS is battling al-Assad it seems they could use Syria as a springboard to attack their arch enemy Israel, but instead they chose to invade Iraq where they are fighting a pathetic Iraq army, Iran supported militias and the US-lead coalition. Doesn’t ISIS want Israel to become part of their Caliphate? And if not, why not?

Does it mean that ISIS fears Israel more than the West, or just that the US is too far away and doesn’t have the will power to take them on directly?

I realize that Israel has nukes which might deter ISIS, but last time I checked so does the US. Why not lob missiles or artillery rounds into Israel and provoke them instead of trying to provoke the West?

“The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.”
The people of Israel are probably an inhospitable environment for ISIS.

Israel might well pound the holy snot out of them.

As I understand it, ISIS’ primary goal is to establish a Caliphate, a theocratic Islamic regime. While they certainly have no love for Israel or the USA, their resources are for the moment fully committed to that goal. For now, any ISIS actions against foreign targets have been and will be the actions of lone-wolf independent operators acting without major support from ISIS itself.

Should ISIS establish itself as a long-term functioning nation-state (which is extremely unlikely), Israel and the USA would certainly be primary targets.

First of all, it would mean fighting their way across half of Syria, which is controlled or contested by either the regime or the Syrian opposition.

Bear in mind that much of the territory controlled by ISIS has a very low population density. They have enough on their hands trying to hold on to that, instead of trying to conquer the most densely parted parts of Syria, which they would have to do to get at Israel.

It is also worth mentioning that they didn’t “invade” Iraq, so much as they “started in Iraq”. They were part of the insurgency as AQI over a decade ago.

Precisely. ISIS primarily controls the territory to the northwest of Syria, connecting to Iraq and along the Turkish border, about as far away from Israel as they can get. the Israeli border is heavily armed and on alert. (Israel already has incidents with regular, non-ISIS rebels causing problems on the border). ISIS conquests have taken advantage of the Syrian forces and other rebels being stretched very thin and not being able to cover everywhere or retaliate with significant firepower.

Thanks. All good points. Since ISIS has no qualms about beheading westerners, presumably in an effort to provoke the West, I figured they might be stupid enough to provoke a truly formidably foe, like Israel, but Israel is apparently too far away and ISIS is too busy with the forces already mounted against them.

Don’t you think they behead westerners to entice disaffected resentful youth to their cause, by showy revenge-violence, rather than provoking the West? What good would it do them to do that? Weren’t we already provoked?


There is no record of Israel every having problems with Syrian insurgents on their border. In fact Israel provides medical treatment for wounded insurgents (see famous photos of Bibi comforting a wounded fighter) and any artillery strikes by Israel have been in support of the insurgents against the Syrian Arab Army. Not to mention the air strikes against SAA bases and vehicles.

The fact that the Israel friendly Insurgents are hard-core Islamists and include the Al-Qa’ida franchise Jabhat al-Nusra doesn’t seem to bother Israel one jot.

The dynamic will change slightly now that DAESH/ISIS has infiltrated parts of Damascus and is moving into Southern Syria. However even if they are successful, all Israel will see is the replacement of one al-Qa’ida franchise (JaN) with another (ISIS). Neither has any intention of attacking Israel, now or in any foreseeable future.

The only credible threat to Israel remains Hezbollah, who coincidentally are the only credible threat to Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

because they can’t find it on the map. Arab maps leave it off.

But seriously, Israel has been attacked with missiles over and over. Someone in ISIS certainly had a hand in it. They just called themselves something else. It’s not hard to print up a different flag.

ISIS isn’t in the South-West (yet). And Israel hasn’t been attacked with missiles over and over at all. The best that’s happened is some mortaring on UN positions in the buffer zone and a totally unrelated Hezbollah attack on Mt Hermon in response to an Israeli attack on a HA vehicle in Syria.

I suspect you already are aware of this but Israel does occasionally have trouble on their syrian border:

Not much trouble, but worth an occasional air strike.

As I pointed out, Israel has zero problems with its tame terrorists and is quite fond of killing Syrian soldiers in support of the Islamists - as in this case.

It did not offer any casualty figure for the strike. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four Syrian soldiers were killed by a missile fired from Israeli-occupied territory in the Golan. Observatory director Rami Abdurrahman said it was not clear whether the missile was fired by a plane or from a vehicle.

Israeli airstrike on Syrian soldiers

Israel isn’t ISIS’s arch enemy. Never was, and likely never will be. Their enemy is anyone who stands in their way of establishing a Caliphate. The notion that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” might actually have ISIS and Israel with common aims, although I doubt Israel would be so stupid. Given ISIS’s extreme and severe slant on Islam, their biggest enemies are other Muslims, those that don’t share the same exacting views or beliefs, and are very uncomfortable (to put it mildly) with the idea of a state ruled by ISIS’s caliph.

However, once they *do *establish that Caliphate, Israel will shoot to the top of their list.

Don’t kid yourself.

To be a radical Muslim is to be opposed to Israel’s existence, and that is particularly so with any offshoot of AQ, such as ISIS. If ISIS were to win power in Syria and Iraq, then Israel, an alien in possession of a section of Islamic ME core territory, would probably be first on its list of next targets.

After Israel, or perhaps in some cases at the same time as Israel, other Muslims would comprise the other “next targets”: piece by piece the entire congregation of Islam would be targeted. The original post-Mohammed Caliphate was was not a mere local affair, but came eventually to comprise millions of square miles, extending from Iberia in the west to central Asia in the east. Yes, centralized control may have from the start been tenuous the further one got from the core ME provinces, and centralized control may have dissipated completely within a century or into the Muslim era. But that does not mean a dream of unification has not always been central to Muslims, especially messianics such as ISIS.

The hideous specter which is ISIS will only get worse, and to more people, the more powerful it becomes. Paralysis of will now afflicts the Western powers most capable of eradicating its existence as a conventional force. Sooner or later they will have to, despite the whining and bleating of the “we can’t stay there foreverrrr” factions. Maybe not forever, but a multi-generational war is in progress whether we like it or not, no matter what we do. It is sad, but those of you young enough to see the next 50 years will see that it is so.

Part if not all of our woes are due to gross misjudgments by the generation now in power, my generation, the so-called Baby Boomers. We made a mess out of it, and we deserve the antipathy of the today’s youth who, through no fault of their own, must deal with the colossal mess we are leaving them.

I realize apology will do nothing help solve the problem, nor to take away any measure of guilt. I still must say it: I am sorry.


This being General Questions, this kind of political opinionating is out of place. Let’s stick more closely to the question in the OP.

This goes for everyone. There are plenty of other threads to discuss strategy against ISIS.

General Questions Moderator

If they do establish a caliphate then they will have far bigger fish to fry than Israel.