First Druse woman in police under fire from community

Leader drafts letter to Karadi and Dichter requesting early end to woman's career.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
March 21, 2007 23:13
2 minute read.
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policecar88. (photo credit: )

Less than a month after the first Druse Miss Israel contestant was forced by community leaders to withdraw from the competition, another young Druse woman stood to make history when she joined the ranks of the Israel Police on Wednesday morning. But in the evening, the community leaders held an urgent meeting in Shfaram to discuss the young woman's service, according to reports. The woman, a Shfaram resident, is the first Druse woman to serve in the Israel Police. Druse men (except for religious leaders and residents of the Golan Heights) are required to serve in the IDF, and many serve in the police and the Israel Prisons Service. The woman's uncle, for example, is a veteran of the police. But Druse women are exempt from the draft and are normally forbidden by community elders to join the security forces. Sheikh Mzafik Terif, one of the leaders of the community, reportedly drafted a letter to Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter requesting that they put an early end to the young woman's police career. The 22-year-old has a degree in criminology and education, and is set to serve as a domestic violence investigator. Misgav officers said she could play a valuable role by helping Arabic-speaking women feel more comfortable in cooperating with police. Police responded angrily Wednesday night to the reports that representatives of the community might try to interfere with the woman's choice to serve in the force. A senior police officer at the National Headquarters told The Jerusalem Post, "In this country there is freedom of occupation and it is impossible to deny anybody a job on the basis of religion, ethnicity, race or gender." "I don't think that there is any place to deny that right to a woman who wants to contribute to an organization like the police, especially when this is the first time a Druse woman is serving, and especially in such a special and sensitive position within the police force," he said. Early this month, Angelina Faris pulled out of the Miss Israel pageant after she received death threats. Elders in the Druse community said that they opposed Faris's participation because it violated their code of modesty. On Wednesday morning, the rookie cop reported to a police station in the Northern District to receive her uniform, and later in the day, took the oath of service in the Israel Police. She will be based at the Misgav Station, not far from her family's home. The woman, a member of the Tarba clan, struggled for months to convince the religious leaders of the Druse community to okay her service in the police. Druse religious elders tend to frown on employment that removes women from their towns and restricts their ability to establish a family. According to police, both the woman's family and her fianc e were initially skeptical, but ultimately supported her decision. On Wednesday, she said her police career would bring honor to her family.


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