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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Former Shin Bet chief announces new scholarship for discharged Golan Druze soldiers
By LIDAR GRAVÉ-LAZI
30/12/2013
The scholarship will enable young people from the Druze community to pursue higher academic studies.
 
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) and Sayeret Matkal (General Staff Reconnaissance Unit), led by former minister Avi Dichter, established a new scholarship program for army and national service graduates of the Druse community on Sunday; in commemoration of Sayeret Matkal Maj.Salim Shufi.

“This is the first project of this kind to incorporate young Druse residents of the Golan Heights. Young people of the Golan Heights know they are welcomed citizens of Israel,” said Dolan Abu Salah, mayor of Majdal Shams, who is married to Shufi’s granddaughter.

“This is a very good thing bringing together the Druse community in the Golan Heights and Israel. The family expresses its thanks for the establishment of the program and wishes success for all those involved,” he added.

The scholarship, which will enable young people from the Druse community to pursue higher academic studies and integrate into Israeli society and economy, will be awarded to 25 young men and women – to be chosen by a committee comprised of representatives of the family, graduates of Sayeret Matkal and representatives of IFCJ.

“I have known Shufi since I was a boy of 18. He was an exceptional fighter in terms of his ability and courage. Shufi was a man with no boundaries who helped people, with no limitations.

“The contributions of the Druse community to the security of Israel are enormous and people are unaware of large aspects of it.

“This project will give proper respect to the Druse community and there is no better way to commemorate the name and actions of Shufi,” said Dichter.

Shufi, born in the village of Majdal Shams, joined the Sayeret Matkal in the 60’s and participated in numerous operations for the security of Israel.

Most notably he helped save the lives of a Sayeret force under the command of then officer Binyamin Netanyahu by infiltrating deep into Syrian territory, and helping the force navigate back into Israel undetected.

After the army, Shufi served as mayor of Majdal Shams, and greatly helped the advancement and development of the Druse community.

He passed away last year at the age of 82.

“I’m proud of this project and hope that the legacy of Shufi will pass onto the next generations and that more will follow in his footsteps,” said founder and president of IFCJ, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
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