Israel’s Druze Arabs push for changes after denouncing the Jewish state law

Druze men in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights congregate near the Syrian border, waving their community’s flag,
Druze men in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights congregate near the Syrian border, waving their community’s flag.  Leaders of Israel’s main Arab minority denounced the Jewish State law which Turkey called it racist

Israel’s new “nation-state” law has provoked anger among members of its most integrated minority, the Druze, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek corrective legislation.

A member of the Druze community holds a Druze flag as he speaks to an Israeli soldier near the border fence between Syria and the Golan Heights, near Majdal Shams June 18, 2015. Gathered at a hilltop in the Golan Heights, a group of Druze sheikhs look through binoculars at the Syrian village of Hade. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
A member of the Druze community holds a Druze flag as he speaks to an Israeli soldier near the border fence between Syria and the Golan Heights, near Majdal Shams . A third IDF officer from the Druze community has resigned in protest of the controversial Nation-State Law passed by the Knesset last week. Doctor Maj. Safa Mashur, who studied at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and serves in the 91st Division, said that “this law harms non-Jewish Israeli citizens. I have a feeling of discrimination.” Earlier in the week two Druze officers posted on Facebook that they would leave the IDF, saying that they were now considered second-class citizens by law.

Netanyahu has defended the law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, from fierce criticism at home and abroad. But his conservative government appears to have been blindsided by the response from the Druze community, even though parliament passed the law on July 19 after years of heated debate in the Knesset.

In a further effort to calm tensions, Netanyahu convened a meeting with Druze community leaders in Tel Aviv late on Thursday but it was cut short because one of the participants, a retired senior military officer, had harshly criticized the legislation, Israeli media reported.

At a separate event in northern Israel, a Druze man had to be forcibly removed by police after he confronted and heckled one of the law’s main proponents, lawmaker Avi Dichter of Netanyahu’s Likud party who had started giving a speech.

Leaders of Israel’s main Arab minority denounced the law while Turkey called it racist and the European Union expressed concern. Netanyahu took this in his stride, saying it was needed to fend off Palestinian challenges to Jewish self-determination.

But criticism from Druze, who are also Arabs and practise an offshoot of Islam, has had more effect even though they make up only 1.3 percent of Israel’s citizenry. “We see it as a discriminatory law which doesn’t give expression to our citizenship,” said Rafik Halabi, one of a delegation of Druze leaders who met Netanyahu. “We told the prime minister unequivocally … we won’t be able to live in a state where part of its population, especially such a loyal and good population, feels excluded,” he said, after the delegation also met President Reuven Rivlin.

Druze communities are scattered around the region, including in Syria and Lebanon. In Israel, Druze men are drafted by the military unlike other Arab minorities, who often identify as Palestinian. Druze are also active in mainstream governance and media in Israel.

The law, which downgrades Arabic from an official language on a par with Hebrew and deems only Jewish settlement as a national priority, has prompted announcements by several Druze that they would no longer serve in uniform. Israel’s top general, Gadi Eizenkot, responded with a call not to politicize the military.

Netanyahu hastily set up a committee including ministers, officials and Druze community leaders to propose new legislation that will address their grievances and ease tensions.

These changes appear designed to accommodate the Druze primarily, and not the much larger Israeli Arab minority. “The team reached an historic outline that constitutes a revolution in the legal status of minority community members who serve in the security forces, particularly the Druze community,” Netanyahu’s media adviser said in a statement. Akram Hasson, a Druze member of the coalition party Kulanu, said the work would take time. “There is still a long way to go,” he told Israel Radio.

“I don’t believe the prime minister”

Druze leaders are divided over whether the proposals will calm the tensions. A large rally by the Druze and their supporters is planned at a main Tel Aviv plaza on Saturday.

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, one of the committee members, said legislation would be presented when parliament returns for its winter session in mid October. “To my delight, the Druze community has accepted the outline.

We have agreed to work on the details and bring a set proposal to a vote,” he told the Ynet web site. This would enshrine the Druze’s special status within Israeli society, recognize their service to the state and boost funding for their towns, villages and community institutions.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the ultranationalist Jewish Home party also praised the Druze. “The Druze community does not have to prove to anybody its loyalty to the state of Israel or the strength of the bond between us. Seventy years of statehood prove this beyond any doubt,” he wrote on Facebook.

Druze opposition lawmaker Salah Saed of the Zionist Union said he was not sure the crisis had been averted. “I have read the new proposal and I can live with it, but the problem is that I don’t believe the prime minister,” Saed said, fearing Israel could face early elections before the legislation is finalized. Elections are set for November 2019.

“(Netanyahu) is stringing us along… We will not play into the hands of this government,” Saed added.

 

REUTERS

  • Arzna

    If Israel treats its loyal minorities like this … who needs enemies?
    Something must be ethically wrong with Israel to come up with such racist laws . It tells you something extremely dangerous and that is ‘ Israel cannot coexist with any nation in the Middle East ‘.

    • vs

      Want you convert Israel to Orabistan?

      • Hannibal

        A definite YES! Better than zionazi state. Neimals woke up finally to the truth. Read his post.
        Now the countdown to the end of the transplanted entity begins.

        • vs

          suck dick of drunken monkey, kannibal

          • Y K

            I pity the monkey.

          • Hind Abyad
          • vs
          • Niemals

            What are you trying to say with this link about “Murabitat”?

            Murabitat is an illegal Islamist movement of Muslim women funded by the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, everything in Israel is ‘illegal’ – depending how you see it. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1036351d752c60cc268a017495d025b5ff2c4c4f10f77b8b830b8bfeac94a8ed.jpg – Like the Messianic Jews that grows in numbers in Israel.

          • vs

            you are crazy, i’m every thing in Israel, am i illegal or criminal? Please think how your country Germany was birthplace of Hitler and Co and fascism. Jews Druzes Circassians or Orabs are equal citizens economically and politically, what you want to fake?

          • Niemals

            You are everything in Israel, but you know nothing about my country.
            Germany was not the birthplace of Hitler!

            Adolf Hitler was born 20. April 1889 in Braunau am Inn, Österreich-Ungarn.
            From 1933 to 1945 he was a dictator of the German Reich.

            Hitler’s family came from the Lower Austrian Waldviertel on the border with Bohemia.

            In 1930 he forbade his half siblings Alois Hitler junior and his son William Patrick Hitler to introduce themselves in media as his relatives, since his opponents were not allowed to know his origin.
            He wanted to end the public interest in his descent.
            Since 1923 Hitler concealed some details of his origins.

            Foreign media repeatedly claimed in 1932 that he had Jewish ancestry, so Hitler had his genealogical tree researched by two genealogists and published in 1937.

            After the “Anschluss” of Austria in 1938, he declared the home villages of his parents and grandparents, Döllersheim and Strones, to the military restricted area, had there for a large military training area until 1942 their 7000 inhabitants resettle and remove several memorial plaques for his ancestors.
            The honorary grave of his grandmother was destroyed….

            According to the journalist Wolfgang Zdral Hitler wanted to prevent further doubts about his “Aryan proof” and prevent incest allegations because of the blood relation of his parents.

            “What do YOU want to fake?”

          • vs

            🙂 please feel free correct me where i’m wrong. But don’t pretend to be professor knowing everything about all also Israel. You are Eurapian, correct improve Eurape before Israel please

          • vs

            Hitler was Eurapian and Germany was his home

          • Hannibal

            They are ugly aren’t they? Spirit and flesh. Chosen people my a$$. LMAO

        • Hind Abyad

          Like the Druze say: I will not play into the hands of this Niemals.

        • Y K

          “Neimals woke up finally to the truth.” (sic)

          Will you offer him free bathroom visits now?

          • Niemals

            What bathroom “truth”?

          • Y K

            Our pal Hannibal is a bathroom attendant who likes to tell he’s a CEO of a start-up to his punters. 🙂

          • Hind Abyad

            Humm? You did like…hypocrite

    • Hannibal

      It cannot coexist with any nation period. Middle East or non Middle East. They have been expelled from every corner of the planet because they are racist by nature.

    • Y K

      Lebanese Arabs of different sects are great experts on coexisting with other countries in the Middle East. Not to mention with each other. 🙂

      • Niemals

        Lebanese Arabs (YeUx) of different sects are great experts of blaming everything on all Jews “Oh poor Jews, why somebody would want to say something against them…?”, but later this YeUx is unable (unwilling) to answer my comment; http://disq.us/p/1uihcsz

        What odd and incomprehensible comment; “Hezbollah works entirely for Israel” http://disq.us/p/1sgmhkg

      • Hind Abyad

        Here comes Scradje, Niemals-Guest ;-))

        • vs

          also vs

  • Niemals

    Passing a controversial Jewish Nation-state Bill, means more Jews less non Jews.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3261adeb6eba7410541e3300be07ad434342f47dbc25ccaa132b6e657051d7cd.jpg Israel passes nationality bill into law
    Talk about having dug their own grave…

    • Niemals

      Eli Moyal, who served as mayor of the southern town of Sderot:
      If Sephardim had founded Israel, it would be just ‘another Arab state’. (TOI)

  • vs

    The Standard and Poor’s (S&P) global credit rating agency announced
    Saturday that it has upgraded Israel from A+ to -AA, the highest rating
    Israel has ever had, putting it on par with the Czech Republic and Qatar

  • vs

    Israeli scientists in Jerusalem have developed the lipid ELISA
    diagnostic tool, which enables earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease
    along with better tracking of the disease’s progression and the
    patient’s response to therapy

  • Hind Abyad
  • Arzna

    “It took Jews in France 100 years after gaining citizenship to realize assimilation, patriotism and military service were no defense against discrimination. Now, 70 years after the Jewish state’s founding, its ‘loyal’ minorities face the same realization.

    Consider these words:

    “In vain are we loyal patriots, sometimes super loyal; in vain do we make the same sacrifices of life and property as our fellow citizens; in vain do we strive to enhance the fame of our native lands in the arts and sciences, or her wealth by trade and commerce.

    “In our native lands where we have lived for centuries we are still decried as aliens, often by men whose ancestors had not yet come at a time when our sighs had long been heard in the country.”

    The words were not written by a Druze leader protesting Israel’s nation-state law. Nor were they written by an angry Arab member of Knesset lashing at Israel’s treatment of Arabs as strangers in their own homeland.

    These were the words of Theodore Herzl, addressed to fellow European Jews in his famous pamphlet Der Judenstaat (The Jews’ State), published over a century ago.

    Like many Arab citizens protesting Israel’s nation-state law today, Herzl, a young Jewish lawyer from Vienna, was writing in protest of anti-Jewish legal prejudice in Europe triggered by the Dreyfus affair two years before.”

    This was a quote from Haaretz

  • Niemals

    Ehud Barak continued his attacks on Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government, stating the Israeli government is following a fascist path and that Major General Yair Golan’s warnings about similarities to Nazi Germany in the 1930s are coming to pass.

    Barak addressed the controversy over the Nationality Law. in an interview with Reshet reporter Udi Segal. “The government is distorting Zionism and Judaism, betraying democracy, attacking the foundations and institutions of Israeli democracy, and stabbing the Declaration of Independence in the back.”

    According to Barak, 12 out of 14 “symptoms of Fascism” exist in Israel today.

    When Barak was asked by interviewer Udi Segal if his aggressive statements were not meant merely to present himself as an alternative to the current government, he replied that he “does not understand this babbling,” as he put it. “I’m not dealing with myself. I’m dealing with the state. Your children and grandchildren will live in a country that you and they will not want to live in if this group can continue to storm.”

    “From experience and history, we know that whoever does not stop the phenomena of the proto-fascist movement who follow the dark messianic magic of blood, race and soil – whoever does not stop them in time cannot stop them later.”

    “This government is leading Israel along the path followed by fascist movements, and it consistently and decisively undermines the foundations of democracy. Yair Golan’s words, two years ago, unfortunately are confirmed before our eyes, and it is impossible to say that this man said the right thing in a difficult and painful moment when he looked back to the Holocaust. “