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מְחַבֵּל, מְחַבֶּלֶת


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The most widely-used Hebrew word for terrorist is מְחַבֵּל listen and repeat for a male and מְחַבֶּלֶת listen and repeat for a female. 
These words are participle forms (also present-tense) of the active-intensive verb לְחַבֵּל listen and repeat, which means to sabotage. In effect, a terrorist is called, by Israelis, saboteurs
מחבלת מתאבדת
מְחַבֶּלֶת מִתְאַבֶּדֶת(female) suicide terrorist listen and repeat
From a socio-linguistic point of view as well as a personal one, מחבל and מחבלת are too soft. I prefer the other terms that show up in the bilingual dictionary: טֶרוֹרִיסְט listen and repeat – literally, terrorist, and מְפַגֵּעַ listen and repeat (a male)/ מְפַגַּעַת listen and repeat (a female). 
The latter terms come from the root פ.ג.ע (p.g.a) meaning strike, harm, the same root as that of the word for terror attack – פִּגּוּעַ listen and repeat. I believe מגפע and מפגעת more accurately capture the horrific severity of the actions of such people.
by Ami SteinbergerFounder and Director, Ulpan La-Inyan
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