Israeli Druze

Israeli Druze

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According to the 2008 National Resilience Survey, conducted by Dr. Yussuf Hassan of the Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University
Tel Aviv University is a public university located in Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. With nearly 30,000 students, TAU is Israel's largest university.-History:...

, more than 94% of Druze youngsters classified themselves as "Druze-Israelis" in the religious and national context.

Druze citizens are prominent in the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 and in politics
Politics of Israel
The Israeli system of government is based on parliamentary democracy. The Prime Minister of Israel is the head of government and leader of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Knesset. The Judiciary is independent of the executive...

. A considerable number of Israeli Druze soldiers have fallen in Israel's wars since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

. The bond between Jewish and Druze soldiers is commonly known by the term "a covenant of blood" (Hebrew: ברית דמים, brit damim), although in recent years the phrase has been criticized as the Israeli government has been accused for failing to open up employment opportunities to Druze youth outside of the army.

Five Druze lawmakers were elected to serve in the 18th Knesset
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

, a disproportionately large number considering their population. Reda Mansour
Reda Mansour
Reda Mansour is a Druze Israeli poet, historian and Diplomat. He has published three books of Hebrew poetry and received the University of Haifa Miller Award as well as the State President Scholarship for young writers....

 a Druze poet, historian and diplomat, explained: “We are the only non-Jewish minority that is drafted into the military, and we have an even higher percentage in the combat units and as officers than the Jewish members themselves. So we are considered a very nationalistic, patriotic community.”

In 1973, Amel Nasser A-Din founded the Zionist Druze Circle, a group whose aim was to encourage the Druze to support the state of Israel fully and unreservedly.

In 2007, Nabiah A-Din, mayor of Kasra Adia, rejected the "multi-cultural" Israeli constitution proposed by the Israeli Arab organization Adalah
Adalah
Adalah means justice and denotes The Justice of God. It is among the five Shia Principles of the Religion.The Shias believe that there is intrinsic good or evil in things, and that God commands them to do the good things and shun the evil...

: "The state of Israel is Jewish state as well as a democratic state that espouses equality and elections. We invalidate and reject everything that the Adalah organization is requesting," he said. According to A-din, the fate of Druze and Circassians in Israel is intertwined with that of the state. "This is a blood pact, and a pact of the living. We are unwilling to support a substantial alteration to the nature of this state, to which we tied our destinies prior to its establishment," he said. there were 7,000 registered members in the Druze Zionist movement. In 2009, the movement held a Druze Zionist youth conference with 1,700 participants.

On 30 June 2011, Haaretz
Haaretz
Haaretz is Israel's oldest daily newspaper. It was founded in 1918 and is now published in both Hebrew and English in Berliner format. The English edition is published and sold together with the International Herald Tribune. Both Hebrew and English editions can be read on the Internet...

 reported that a growing number of Israeli Druze were joining elite units of the military, leaving the official Druze battalion, Herev, understaffed. This trend has led to calls for its disbandment.

Religious life




Amin Tarif
Amin Tarif
Amin Tarif was the qadi, or spiritual leader, of the Druze in Israel from 1928 till his death in 1993. Such was the esteem in which he was held among Druze internationally that Sheikh Amin was regarded by many within the community as the preeminent spiritual authority in the Druze world.Sheikh...

  was the qadi
Qadi
Qadi is a judge ruling in accordance with Islamic religious law appointed by the ruler of a Muslim country. Because Islam makes no distinction between religious and secular domains, qadis traditionally have jurisdiction over all legal matters involving Muslims...

, or spiritual leader, of the Druze in Palestine and Israel from 1928 until his death in 1993. He was highly esteemed and regarded by many within the community as the preeminent spiritual authority in the Druze world.

Sheikh Muwaffak Tarīf (موفق طريف) is the current spiritual leader.

Seven Noahide commandments


In January 2004, Sheikh Mowafak Tarif called on all non-Jews in Israel to observe the Seven Noahide Laws as laid down in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 and expounded upon in Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 tradition. The mayor of the Galilean
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 city of Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr
Shefa-'Amr, also Shfar'am is a predominantly Arab city in the North District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a population of 35,300.-Etymology:...

 also signed the document. The declaration includes the commitment to make a "...better humane world based on the Seven Noahide Commandments and the values they represent commanded by the Creator to all mankind through Moses on Mount Sinai."

The Druze revere the father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, whom some Muslims identify with Shuʻayb
Shoaib
Shuʿayb, or Shoaib, , was an ancient Midianite prophet, who is mentioned in the Qur'an a total of 11 times. He is believed to have lived after Abraham, and Muslims believe that he was sent as a prophet to two communities, namely the Midianites and the People of the Wood. To both the people, Shoaib...

. According to the biblical narrative, Jethro joined and assisted the Jewish people in the desert during the Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

, accepted monotheism, but ultimately rejoined his own people. The tomb of Jethro
Nabi Shu'ayb
Nabi Shu'ayb is the name used in English to refer to a site in the destroyed village of Hittin not far from Tiberias, where the tomb of the Islamic prophet Shu'ayb is believed to be located.A central figure in the Druze religion, the tomb of Nabi Shu'ayb, has been a site of annual pilgrimage for...

 near Tiberias is the most important religious site for the Druze community.

Druze of the Golan Heights



Israel occupied the Golan heights in Syria during the Six day war. There are four Druze villages there. In the late 1970s, the Israeli government offered all non-Israelis living in the Golan citizenship, which would entitle them to an Israeli driver's license and enable them to travel freely in Israel. In March 1981, the Druze community leaders imposed a socio-religious ban on Israeli citizenship and in November, a general strike was called that lasted five months and demonstrations were held that sometimes became violent. The Israeli authorities arrested the protest leaders and imposed curfews. On April 1, 1982, a 24-hour curfew was imposed during which soldiers confiscated the old ID cards and replaced them with new ones, signifying Israeli citizenship. This action caused an international outcry including two condemnatory UN resolutions. Israel eventually relented and permitted retention of Syrian citizenship.

Today, less than 10% of the Druze of the Golan Heights are Israeli citizens; the remainder hold Syrian citizenship.

In the 2009 elections
Israeli legislative election, 2009
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...

, 1,193 residents of Ghajar
Ghajar
Ghajar is an Alawite village on the Hasbani River on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. It has a population of 2,000.-Early history:...

 and 809 residents of the Druze villages were eligible voters, out of approximately 1,200 Ghajar residents and 12,600 Druze village residents who were of voting age. During the 2011 Syrian uprising
2011 Syrian uprising
The 2011 Syrian uprising is an ongoing internal conflict occurring in Syria. Protests started on 26 January 2011, and escalated into an uprising by 15 March 2011...

, several rallies of Golan Heights Druzes were held in support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad is the President of Syria and Regional Secretary of the Ba'ath Party. His father Hafez al-Assad ruled Syria for 29 years until his death in 2000. Al-Assad was elected in 2000, re-elected in 2007, unopposed each time.- Early Life :...

.

Druze localities



(Population figures and percentage of overall population):
  • Daliyat al-Karmel
    Daliyat al-Karmel
    Daliyat al-Karmel is a Druze local council in the North District of Israel, located around 20 km southeast of Haifa.-History:The town was given local council status in 1951. However, in 2003 it was merged with nearby Isfiya to create Carmel City...

     (15,000 - 96.9%)
  • Yirka
    Yirka
    Yarka is an Israeli Druze village in Israel's North District, northeast of Acre.-History:In 1596, Yarka appeared in Ottoman tax registers as being in the Nahiya of Akka of the Liwa of Safad...

     (14,750 - 98.9%)
  • Maghar (11,600 - 57.8%)
  • Beit Jann
    Beit Jann
    Beit Jann is a Druze village on Mt. Meron, in northern Israel. At 940 meters above sea level, Beit Jann is one of the highest inhabited locations in the country. In 2007, the population was 10,300. The mayor of Beit Jann is Youssef Qabalan.-History:...

     (10,600 - 99.8%)
  • Isfiya
    Isfiya
    Isfiya , also known as Ussefiya, is a Druze village and local council in northern Israel. Located on Mount Carmel, it is part of Haifa District. In 2009 it had a population of 25,400. In 2003, the local council was merged with nearby Daliyat al-Karmel to form Carmel City...

     (8,500 - 80%)
  • Kisra-Sumei
    Kisra-Sumei
    Kisra-Sumei is a Druze local council in the western Galilee in the North District of Israel.It was recognised as a local council in 1990....

     (7,000 - 94.5%)
  • Julis
    Julis
    Julis is a Druze village and local council in the Northern District of Israel.-Etymology:According to local legend, the name is derived from "Julius," the name of a Roman commander who camped in the area...

     (5,700 - 100%)
  • Yanuh-Jat
    Yanuh-Jat
    Yanuh-Jat is an Arab local council in the North District of Israel. Probably place of the Biblical village of Yanuah . It was declared as a local council in 1990. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , it had a population of 5,300 in 2006. The rate of growth of the population is 2.6%...

     (5,300 - 100%)
  • Hurfeish
    Hurfeish
    Hurfeish is a Druze local council in the Northern District of Israel. It was declared a local council in 1967. according to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics it had in 2006 a total population of 5,200, with a growth rate of 1.9%....

     (5,250 - 95.8%)
  • Shefa-'Amr
    Shefa-'Amr
    Shefa-'Amr, also Shfar'am is a predominantly Arab city in the North District of Israel. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics , at the end of 2009 the city had a population of 35,300.-Etymology:...

     (5,150 - 14.1%)
  • Peki'in
    Peki'in
    Peki'in or Buqei'a , is a locality, local council in the Northern District of Israel located eight kilometres east of Ma'alot-Tarshiha in the Upper Galilee...

     (4,150 - 76.5%)
  • Sajur
    Sajur
    Sajur is a Druze town in the Galilee region of northern Israel, with an area of 3,000 dunams . It achieved recognition as an independent local council in 1992...

     (3,700 - 100%)
  • Abu Sinan
    Abu Sinan
    Abu Snan is an Arab local council in the Galilee region of northern Israel, with an area of 4,750 dunams . It achieved recognition as an independent local council in 1964.-History:...

     (3,450 - 27.6%)
  • Rameh
    Rameh
    Rameh is a local council in the North District of Israel. It is entirely populated by Arabs, of whom around 51% are Christian, 29% Druze, and a further 20% Muslim...

     (2,200 - 30.4%)


In the Golan Heights:
  • Majdal Shams
    Majdal Shams
    Majdal Shams is a Druze village in the northern part of the Golan Heights, in the southern foothills of Mt. Hermon. Since the June 1967 Six-Day War, the village has been controlled by Israel, first under martial law, but since 1981 under Israeli civil law, and incorporated into the Israeli...

     (9,700 - 99.9%)
  • Buq'ata
    Buq'ata
    Buq'ata is a Druze town in the northern Golan Heights, administered by Israel. It covers an area of 7,000 dunams , at a height of 1,070 metres above sea level, between Mount Hermonit and Mount Varda. Buq'ata achieved Israeli municipal status as a local council in 1982...

     (5,900 - 99.8%)
  • Mas'ade
    Mas'ade
    Mas'ade is a Druze village in the Golan Heights. It covers an area of 11,985 dunams, and has a population of 3,200. It was given the status of a local council in 1982.Near Mas'ade are Lake Ram and Odem Forest....

     (3,100 - 99.9%)
  • Ein Qiniyye
    Ein Qiniyye
    Ein Qiniyye is a Druze village in the Golan Heights. It was declared a local council in 1982. According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics it a population of 1,900 in 2006, with a growth rate of 2.4%. The village is located on the footsteps of Mount Hermon, 750 meters above sea level.-See...

    (1,735 - 98.9%)