Third Druze officer resigns from IDF in protest of Nation-State Law

Maj.Safa Mashur, a reservist doctor, said he feels discriminated against.

August 1, 2018 15:56
3 minute read.
A member of the Druze community holds a Druze flag as he speaks to an Israeli soldier near the borde

A member of the Druze community holds a Druze flag as he speaks to an Israeli soldier near the border fence between Syria and the Golan Heights, near Majdal Shams June 18, 2015. Gathered at a hilltop in the Golan Heights, a group of Druze sheikhs look through binoculars at the Syrian village of Hade. (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)


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A third IDF officer from the Druze community has resigned in protest of the controversial Nation-State Law passed by the Knesset last week.

First reported by Israel Radio, 49-year-old reservist doctor Maj. Safa Mashur, who studied at the Technion- Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa and serves in the 91st Division, said that “this law harms non-Jewish Israeli citizens. I have a feeling of discrimination.”

Like the healthcare system, the IDF is critically lacking physicians. A 2017 report by military ombudsman Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yitzhak Brick found that one doctor treats approximately 1,200 soldiers, and one mental health officer is responsible for 2,300 soldiers.

Earlier in the week two Druze officers posted on Facebook that they would leave the IDF, saying that they were now considered second-class citizens by law.

The first officer, Capt. Amir Jmall, who on Sunday also called to end the compulsory draft for the Druze, was suspended from service for two weeks by the military from his post.

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On Tuesday Jmall met with his commanders, who told him that as an IDF officer he was expected not to post his letter to the prime minister on social media. “There is no room for any kind of political discourse in the IDF,” he was told.

The second officer, Shady Zidan, a 23-year-old Druze IDF officer with the rank of deputy commander in a combat battalion, posted on Facebook on Monday evening that “until today I stood proudly and saluted the flag.... I am a citizen like everyone else, and I give above and beyond to the state, and in the end I’m a second-class citizen?” By late Tuesday Zidan posted another post on Facebook with a picture of himself at the IDF’s Bahad 1 Officers School, saying that he wanted to clarify his earlier post.

“From me you shall see and do,” he began, referring to the motto of the IDF officers school. “I want to make it clear that I am not against the state and I am not against the symbols of the state. But I am against the nationality law in its present form. I feel that my Israeliness has been hurt, they have taken my affiliation and taken my citizenship and the love of the country I grew up in. But I will fight for my Israeli identity.

“I call on all of Israel to support us and help us make a change !! I am the State of Israel and the State of Israel is me,” he added.

On Tuesday IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot called on soldiers and commanders to leave political disputes over the Nation-State Law outside the army.

“As a national army whose mission is to protect the security of the people of Israel and to win wars, we are committed to preserving human dignity, regardless of origin, religion or gender. It always was and always will be,” Eisenkot said in a statement.

“We have undertaken that the joint responsibility with our Druze, Bedouin and other minority members serving in the IDF will continue to lead our way,” he added.

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