JERUSALEM — Terrorism in Israel is unfortunately not news but part and parcel of life. Not a day goes by without some nationalistically-motivated attack, whether stones thrown at Jewish vehicles, petrol bombs thrown towards army outposts, incendiary balloons burning farmlands or even plain arson to burn forests for the sake of it.

In extreme cases terrorists use weapons to target Israeli civilians or security personnel. Most attacks are only briefly mentioned in the media unless they cause damage or injury. Most Israelis are not exposed to these attacks, which occur mainly on the borders or in Judea and Samaria. The riots last month in mixed Arab-Israeli cities were the first to occur for over three decades and were not all motivated by nationalist reasons but rather by frustration over economic disparity between Arabs and Jews.

However what is news is the evolution in the profile of terrorists in Israel. In the past it was clear who were the most likely people to be involved in terror activities: Young, uneducated males, generally from the lowest socioeconomic sector in Arab society. These people are usually disillusioned, desperate and easy to incite into carrying out a terror attack for personal glory and prestige. If the terrorist lives to tell the tale, he can expect a fat check every month from the PA and if he dies his family could receive similar sums. Most of the terrorists were conscripted to their tasks by terror organizations.

It therefore may come as a surprise that recent terrorist attacks have been perpetrated in many cases by people outside the classic profile. Wednesday’s attack on IDF soldiers near Jerusalem is just one example. A well-dressed woman drove up towards IDF soldiers who were securing engineering works and attempted to ram them. When she did not succeed, she exited her vehicle with a knife and attempted to stab the soldiers, who then shot her dead.

It later transpired that the woman was 29-year-old Dr. Mai Afane, a mental health specialist who had received her doctorate from a Jordanian university after completing her first degree at Abu Dis near Jerusalem. Afane ran a clinic where she treated children for speech therapy problems. The mother of a 4-year-old girl, Afane had everything to lose from reverting to terror – the hard work she put in to achieve her doctorate, the relationship with her daughter, the patients whom she had worked to help progress. What could have possessed her to choose such a violent end to her short life?

A possible solution could be found on Afane’s Facebook page, where she showed pictures of Palestinian flags on many occasions as well as posts about terrorists, stating that they are the symbols and the moral compass of her nation. Her profile page included the caption: “We are a nation which refuses to be called refugees and displaced persons. We will stay here – either to die as martyrs or to be victorious.” Recently Afane wrote morbid posts stating that “there is little time left to live” and “the pain is great.” Afane was not known to have been affiliated with any terror organization, but chose as an individual to end her life in this way.

Yet even if Afane’s own mental health led her (ironically) to want to commit suicide, it is strange that such a successful person should not at least want to live and seek out professional help. The violent “death wish” could only stem from a ferocious hatred of Israel – a hatred fueled by the society she lives in which adulates armed opposition, terror and indiscriminate destruction. Despairing of ever being victorious over Israel, Afane chose what she held to be the only other dignified option -martyrdom.

Afane is not the only recent anomaly in the terrorist profile. Munthasar Shalabi, who last month opened fire from his pistol at the Tapuach junction in Samaria, killing 19-year-old Yehuda Gueta and seriously injuring another youth, was as far as possible from what would normally be suspected. A prosperous 44-year-old businessman and father of 7, Shalabi had American citizenship and lived in Turmus Aya, one of the most affluent villages in Samaria, where many residents are Americans who spend their summers in their former village.

Shalabi did not appear to be suffering from any economic or personal distress but he still willingly committed an attack where he could and should have been eliminated. After a few days he was apprehended unharmed by authorities, who may be trying to interrogate him to fathom why such a person could wish to throw away his life for an act of butchery. Shalabi was also not associated with any known terror organization

The ineluctable conclusion would seem to be that terrorists can come from any background and that success is no barrier towards extremist actions against Israel. At least this debunks the left-wing theories that if the Palestinians and Gazans were to prosper economically they would eschew terror and therefore Israel is responsible to provide them with support. If anything, Israel should try and target the sources of incitement, mainly on social media, which lead seemingly normative people into such homicidal actions.

As reported by Vos Iz Neias