Israeli Druse attend an event.
(photo credit: ALAMAMA)
Likud Druse MK Ayoub Kara passed on a blessing from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tens of thousands of Druse congregated at the grave of Nabi Shu’ayb for their annual holiday on Saturday.
“The Prime Minister asked me to read out a blessing to the Druse” congregated for their holiday at the shrine of the prophet Shu’ayb, whom Druse tradition recognizes as the biblical Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, Kara told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday.
“Because it was held on Shabbat and he [Netanyahu] couldn’t come, he asked me to transmit his blessing, which was received with love and cheers,” said Kara.
Netanyahu’s message noted that not only do we cooperate in blood, but we are partners in building the holy land of Israel.
“As loyal citizens who love the country, I am familiar with and appreciate the contribution of the daughters and sons of the Druse community to Israeli society and to the state,” said Netanyahu in his letter to the Druse community.
“A very high proportion of the community’s young people are drafted into the best units in the IDF and the Israel Police and some of our best commanders come from among you. To my great sorrow, many of your sons have given their lives on behalf of the security of the state.
“Israeli society views you as brothers and sisters not just because of the bond of blood between our peoples but also due to the bond of life that has been built between us over the years,” he added.
“The traditions of your fathers and your faith and beliefs are bound with the history of our land. Like us, you, too, are part of the vistas of the Land of Israel. Our obligation as a state is to continue assisting each and every member of the community to integrate into Israeli society and to enable your young people to realize their potential,” Netanyahu wrote.
A knowledgeable political source in the Druse community told the Post
that “there was anger” at the end of last year when the cabinet approved a bill to anchor in law Israel’s status as the nation-state of the Jewish people, legislation critics say could undermine its democratic foundation and the rights of minorities.
“This was one of the reasons that large numbers of Druse didn’t vote for Bibi [Netanyahu],” claimed the source, adding that now he has a chance to embrace the Druse anew and appoint a Druse minister in his government.
“It cannot be that minorities make up 20 percent of the population but do not even have one person in the government – only Jews,” argued the source.
The Druse holiday lasts from Saturday until Monday, and Sheikh Maufak Tarif, the head of the Druse community in Israel, told the Post
that tens of thousands showed up on Saturday, and President Reuven Rivlin is scheduled to attend on Monday.
“On this date, the Druse celebrate Jethro and stay awake all night praying until the morning,” and then guests and others come to visit,” said Tarif, noting that people of all faiths have come to visit the shrine located near Tiberias.
Mendi Safadi, an Israeli Druse who served as Kara’s chief of staff when he was deputy minister, said that according to Druse tradition, the friendship between the Jews and the Druse is traced back to Jethro, who decided to cooperate with the Jews and their leader Moses.Reuters contributed to this report.