Netanyahu meets Druze leaders to discuss Nation-State Law

"I hope you will find a way to solve the problem and improve the situation of our community and any other community that is tied so closely with the fate of the Jewish state."

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July 27, 2018 13:06
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets leaders of the Druze community

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets leaders of the Druze community: Likud MK Ayoob Kara, Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the current spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, to discuss the controversial Nation-State Law, Brig.-Gen. Amal Asad (ret.) and former Labor MK Shakib Shanan . (photo credit: KOBI GIDEON/GPO)

Prime Minister Netanyahu on Friday morning met with Druze leaders to discuss the controversial Nation-State Law.

The meeting was attended by Likud MK Ayoob Kara, Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the current spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, to discuss the controversial Nation-State Law, Brig.-Gen. Amal Asad (ret.) and former Labor MK Shakib Shanan.

The meeting was held in 'good spirit,' the Prime Minister's Office reported, and Netanyahu listened to the representatives of the community who, in return, said that they trusted the Prime Minister's leadership.

However, the Druze leader expressed their concern about certain clauses in the Nation-State Law and expressed a request to change them.

Netanyahu replied that he could not make any promises that the law would be changed and that consultations were still ongoing. He expressed that the goal is to reach a quick and acceptable solution which will express the great appreciation of the State of Israel for the unique partnership with the Druze community.

Sheikh Moafaq Tarif told The Jerusalem Post's sister publication Maariv at the end of the meeting that he felt that "the Prime Minister heard our concerns. I trust the Prime Minister to find the best possible solution after his upcoming meeting with the heads of the local Druze communities. We rely on his wisdom.

"However, we insist that the certain issues be corrected," he added. "We have no problem with the Jewish issues which are being discussed in the State of Israel, but we want the Druze issues to be treated equally."

"I hope you will find a way to solve the problem and improve the situation of our community and any other community that is tied so closely with the fate of the Jewish state."

Only on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected Druze demands to change the Jewish Nation-State Law that passed last week in a meeting Thursday at his Jerusalem office with Druze politicians in his governing coalition.

At the Tuesday meeting, Netanyahu and Ministerial Liason to the Knesset Yariv Levin tried to persuade the attending Druze leaders that there is nothing in the law which hurts their sector, and expressed willingness to pass new laws and initiate new programs to help the Druze when the Knesset returns from its extended summer recess October 14.

But the Druze politicians, whose 140,000 constituents live in the Galilee and the Golan Heights, said they would not stop their public campaign against the law until it is amended. They said they do not want benefits instead, and are unwilling to drop their petition to the High Court of Justice against the law which they filed Sunday.

Brig.-Gen. Amal Asad (ret.) said in Friday's meeting: "We will not stop our protests. We will rally to express our disregard of the law and our disappointment at the fact that while the Druze community continues to support the Jewish people without question, the Jewish Nation-State bill abandons the Druze.

"The sheikh stands with us. We are United. [...] We have one common goal and that is a strong Israel that we can be an integral part of."

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.



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