Israel PM defends law in face of Druze outrage

06 August, 2018, 00:04 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Col.-Gen. Sergei Rudskoy of the Russian Military General Staff speaks to the media as a screen shows the map of Israel Jordan Syria and Lebanon in Moscow Russia

Israeli Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muafak Tarif arrives at a rally where members of his community and their supporters demonstrated during a rally to protest against the Jewish nation-state law in Tel Aviv on August 4, 2018.

In Israel they number around 120,000 - less than two percent of citizens. The leader of the demonstration, Amal Assad, declared that the protest was on behalf of all minorities in Israel, although it was organized and led by the Druze community.

In his speech, Yuval Diskin said that Israel should be a model in its treatment of minorities precisely because the Jewish people had known persecution as a minority in other countries. "We were born here, we will die here, we love this country, we have defended it, and we will continue to live here together - Jews, Arabs, Druze, Circassians, Bedouins, as equal brothers". For instance, Arabic has been reclassed as a special language whereas before it was official.

According to the plan submitted by the prime minister's representatives, "the law will recognise the contribution of the Druze community to the security of the state, and will include support for community institutions (religion, education and culture), will strengthen Druze residential settlements, and establish new towns if needed".

"We are all Israelis", he said.

The demonstrators were urged to lower party banners and to wave Israeli and Druze flags only. "From this rally, with joint hands and hearts, we go forward for many more years of joint life in Israel in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence".

The law's backers in parliament say it strengthens the state's status as a homeland for the Jewish people and note it was backed by a slim majority of the country's lawmakers.




Organized by a group called, "The Struggle against the National Law", the objective of the protest is to show the "importance in preserving the democratic character of the State of Israel" for all of its citizens. "Individual rights are anchored in many laws", Netanyahu said Sunday.

People take part at a protest march against the proposed Nation-state Law in Tel Aviv on July 14, 2018.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that the protesters from the Druze community were being egged on by the left in Israel and by the European Union.

The law has caused "no harm whatsoever to the civil equality that exists here", added Levin, a former top attorney and deputy head of Israel's Bar Association, while slamming Saturday's Druze-led protest as "mostly political".

The Druze serve in the military, unlike most of the country's Arab citizens, who overwhelmingly follow Sunni Islam and have close family ties with Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fought off critics of the Nationality (Jewish Nation State) Law at the cabinet meeting on Sunday.

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