Thursday, November 06, 2014

Israel's Druze (for all those who asked)

I'm posting this for all the people who seem confused by the name and ethnic identity of the Border Guard (Magav) officer killed in today's Jerusalem terror attack. Jeda'an Assad was from Israel's Druze minority, a small Arabic speaking religious minority who live in Israel, Syria and Lebanon. The Druze broke away from the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam in the 11th century and maintain their own distinct and highly secret religion. Druze in Israel have been loyal citizens since the founding of the state of Israel and Druze men are conscripted for military service just like Israeli Jews. Many have served with great distinction and the community has lost many of its finest defending the state of Israel. The Druze in Israel live in a number of villages and towns of northern Israel. In today's attack one Druze was killed, others wounded and the guard who stopped the terrorist's rampage was also a Druze.

If you want to learn more about Israel's Druze this time of year many villages in the Galilee have olive harvest related activities and festivals. There are organised Druze cultural tours in Usafiya and Daliyat el Carmel, near Haifa, including some where you can visit Druze homes and learn about the customs and way of life of the community, as well as tasting traditional dishes (kosher meals can be arranged).

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