On January 1, an Israeli Arab named Nashat Milhem walked into a Tel Aviv café and opened fire, killing three and wounding several others, and then escaped. Milhem himself was killed in a shootout with police last Friday. Reflecting on what the public knows and doesn’t know about the shooter, David Horovitz wonders if the future will bring more such attacks:
Nashat Milhem did what the would-be Israel-destroyers of Iran, Hamas, Hizballah, Islamic State, et al. so fervently strive to do: he brought death to the vibrant heart of modern Israel, to downtown Tel Aviv.
And what Israel needs to know—and what a living, captured Nashat Milhem could have helped the security agencies determine more accurately—is how dramatic a milestone his January 1 shooting spree represents in our enemies’ terror war against us.
Was Nashat Milhem a mentally disturbed man, quick to anger, who should never have been free to roam the streets, as some of his relatives have suggested?
Was he a killer bent on revenge—stirred to murderous anger by a police raid on his cousin’s home almost a decade ago, in which the cousin, who was storing weaponry, was shot dead in controversial circumstances?
Was he “inspired” to murderous action by spiritual leaders or social media, peddling incitement against Israel?
Was he more formally recruited to the ranks of Islamic State or another terrorist organization? Some Hebrew media reports Friday night speculated with some specificity that he was a member of an Islamic State sleeper cell—a claim Islamic State will likely be tempted to endorse.
Or was Nashat Milhem motivated by a whole mix of these and other factors?
In an Israel whose Jewish majority is endlessly anguished by its Arab minority, and vice versa, the question of Milhem’s precise motivation looms large.