Journal of Religion and Violence

Volume 8, Issue 2, 2020

Religion and Terror

Eli Alshech, Badi Hasisi, Simon PerryOrcid-ID
Pages 153-195

Self-Radicalized Western Salafi-Jihadis and Hilltop Youth in the West Bank
Similar Radical Thought, Completely Different Practice

This article compares the ideology of Hilltop Youth in Judea and Samaria to that of Salafi-Jihadis in the West. It first demonstrates that there are significant and far-reaching similarities between the two groups’ world views. It then explains why, despite profound ideological similarities, there are vast differences in the type of violent acts each group commits. The Hilltop Youth primarily commit acts of vandalism with few deliberate murders, while the Salafi-Jihadis in the West engage mainly in acts of murder. The article suggests that countervailing precepts within the Hilltop Youth’s religious thought currently may create a normative balance that restrains their violent conduct, specifically against their co-religionists. This normative balance accounts for the contemporary difference between their violent acts and those of Salafi-Jihadis in the West. As the article suggests, however, this normative balance has been recently challenged by Hilltop Youth who offered innovative legal interpretations that could pave legal way for specifically intra-Jewish violence.