No progress made in second Netanyahu meeting with Druze

Dichter decries smear campaign against his law.

July 28, 2018 09:30
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)


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Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Druze leaders for the second day in a row Friday but failed to reach an agreement to end their dispute over the controversial Jewish Nation-State Law.

After meeting Thursday with Druze MKs in his coalition, Friday’s meeting was attended by Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of Israel’s 140,000-member Druze community, Brig.-Gen. Amal Asad (ret.) and former Labor MK Shakib Shanan. Communications Minister Ayoub Kara attended both meetings.

“The meeting was respectful. We explained to the prime minister what bothered us in the law, and what needs to be fixed so the law will guarantee equality for us,” Shanan told The Jerusalem Post. “We told him we have no problem being part of a Jewish State and we want the law to see us as a part of it. The prime minister explained his good intentions with the law and said he would look into the possibilities without making any promises.”

Shanan said there would be a massive protest against the law in Tel Aviv on August 4.

Sheikh Tarif told the Post’s sister publication Maariv at the end of the meeting that he felt that the prime minister heard his community’s concerns.

“I trust the prime minister to find the best possible solution after his upcoming meeting with the heads of the local Druze communities,” he said. “We rely on his wisdom. But we insist that certain issues be corrected. 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.”

Brig.-Gen. Amal Asad (ret.) said at 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.”

Netanyahu’s office said after the meeting that the law would not be changed but legislative and other solutions could be found to advance the Druze community. The prime minister’s associates said his 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.

The bill’s sponsor, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avi Dichter (Likud), accused opposition MKs, especially the Joint List, of “cynically misleading the Druze in an effort to incite them against the government. He vowed that their efforts would not be successful.

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