The partnership between the Jewish and Druse peoples stems back to the biblical era, President Reuven Rivlin told Druse notables on Monday when he visited the Nabi Shu’ayb shrine in the Galilee.
The shrine is believed to be the location of the tomb of the prophet Shu’ayb, whom Druse tradition recognizes as the biblical Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses.
Rivlin was welcomed by Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the head of the Druse community in Israel, and together they walked to the tomb to pay their respects.
Rivlin said afterward that the covenant between the Druse and the Jews was sealed by Jethro and Moses, and today the two peoples in a spirit of cooperation share a common destiny.
While emphasizing the role played by Druse soldiers in maintaining Israel’s security, Rivlin said that he would like to see members of the Druse community integrated into all aspects of Israeli endeavor – economics, science, culture, education, sport and in the social fabric of the nation.
“Your future is our future,” he said. Rivlin disclosed that in recent months he had met with young Druse who told him that they felt repressed, alienated and cut off from mainstream Israel.
“This must change,” Rivlin insisted. “We must not ignore these voices. We must listen to them.”
Rivlin stressed that it is essential to listen to them because it would be detrimental to Israel to allow the Druse, who are full citizens of Israel, to walk around with the feeling that there are no horizons open to them.
Rivlin said that he had approached the relevant people in the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure that the Druse would receive additional land and budget.
“The State of Israel is obligated to reduce the painful and difficult gap that has spread throughout the years,” he said, adding that it is imperative to continue to walk together and to grow together.
Tarif described Rivlin as a true friend of the Druse population and an address to which they could turn.
“You are truly the president of us all,” he said.
Also present at the event was Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog.
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