Udi Sommer

Udi Sommer
Associate Professor of Political Science


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Tel Aviv University, Naftali 529
Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, ISRAEL


Gahl Silverman, PhD

Gahl’s research focuses on Cyber Jihad taxonomy with the support of an external grant of 300K NIS for 2017-9 (PI Udi Sommer)

Research focus

This study uses a holistic computer-assisted qualitative data analysis approach to apply a categorization of posts and its commentsphare with the purpose of (1) identify the taxonomy of Muslims’ discourse on jihad; and (2) identify the characteristics of implied preliminary jihadi terrorists’ behavior. The analytic leverage allows us to zoom in on the individual level and to draw a multilayered picture of cyber jihad subculture and the basis it sets for broader online terrorist activity.

The preliminary findings suggest the following:

(1) The vast Muslim majority declares that Jihad means an individual inner mental struggle only, although it has other meanings including (physically) fighting others.

(2) Radical Muslims (including preachers) justify different types of struggle, including war against others in the name of Jihad.

(3) A small minority advocates Da’wah (a non-missionary invitation to join Islam).

These findings contribute to the analysis of not only the external conflict between Islam and western society but also to the internal conflicts within Muslim societies.

Figure 1. Cluster analysis- Jihad discourse (initial connotative results)


Gahl Silverman is a Post-Doc research fellow (co-PI) at the Blavatnik Interdisciplinary Cyber Research Center, Tel-Aviv University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A (with honors) from the Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Graduate Program, Bar-Ilan University; and his B.A in Statistics and B.G.S, Haifa University. His broad research interests are Cyber-conflict, Future time perspective in the context of Dispute systems design, Social network analysis, and Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis.