Peres at Tuba Zangria 311.
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
“The shades may be drawn over most of the Middle East, but the window of
opportunity that remains open is that of peace with the Palestinians,” President
Shimon Peres said on Sunday to Druse leaders in the village of
Peres had traveled from Jerusalem to Julis to convey greetings to
the Druse community at large on the occasion of Id al-Adha – the Festival of the
Sacrifice commemorating the willingness of Abraham – or Ibrahim as he is known
in the Middle East – to sacrifice his son Ishmael.
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Peres was given a warm
welcome by Sheikh Muafak Tarif and other Druse dignitaries from the surrounding
In return Peres voiced appreciation and admiration for the
courage and dedication of Druse soldiers, whose degree of volunteerism knew no
bounds, he said. He was always amazed by the depth of their commitment to the
country, especially when they have so many legitimate grievances, he
Druse soldiers, Peres noted, are deeply entrenched in the most
elite units of the Israel Defense Forces.
Peres said that he was fully
aware of the shortage of housing, the lack of land and the educational needs of
the Druse community and promised to work to the best of his ability to find
solutions to these problems.
“Equality is a fundamental value of the
State of Israel and every effort must be made to ensure its implementation,”
Explaining his ongoing optimism with regard to the
possibility of peace with the Palestinians, Peres said that the Palestinian
Authority under the leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad is second only
to Israel as the most democratic entity in the Middle East. He also underscored
that the two Palestinian leaders had publicly declared their opposition to
violence and terror.
Ayoub Kara, a prominent member of the Druse
community who currently serves as Deputy Minister for the Development of the
Negev and the Galilee called on the government of Israel not to remain silent in
the face of the slaughter of the Syrian population by President Bashar Assad and
Israel’s Druse population is extremely concerned about the
safety of its family members who live just across the border with Syria, close
to the area in which much of the killings are taking place, said Kara.