Self-radicalized western salafi-jihadis and hilltop youth in the West Bank: Similar radical thought, completely different practice

Eli Alshech, Badi Hasisi, Simon Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)153-195
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of Religion and Violence
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
1Acknowledgments: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 608354. We wish to thank Assaf David, Nimrod Hurvitz, Jacob Apelbaum, Meir Hatina, Ziony Zevit, Sigalit Maor and Avi Arieli for reading the article in its various stages and offering important suggestions. We also thank Zehava Zevit and Margo Kitts for their editing comments. We are indebted to the anonymous reviewer for his/her invaluable comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© Journal of Religion and Violence.


  • Hilltop Youth
  • Radicalism
  • Religion
  • Salafi-Jihadi
  • Terrorism
  • Violence


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