Likud's Ayoub Kara: Druse in Syria need weapons, not soldiers

Druse deputy minister meets with Netanyahu, Ya’alon over situation; Protest planned for Friday.

Members of the Druze community stand near a Druze flag during a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Members of the Druze community stand near a Druze flag during a rally in the Druze village of Majdal Shams.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The most senior levels of the Israeli government are involved with the ongoing dilemma of the Syrian Druse, a source told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
A knowledgeable political source said that Likud Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, the acting minister of the Regional Cooperation Ministry, met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and raised the issue of the Syrian Druse and the danger facing them.
Netanyahu said he respects Israeli Druse for their contribution to the country, according to the source, who added that the prime minister does not want to make any public announcements about the issue.
Kara told the Post in an interview that a meeting was held on Monday with local Druse leaders and it was decided to hold a large demonstration on Friday at the grave of Nabi Shu’ayb, located near Tiberias.
Druse tradition recognizes Nabi Shu’ayb as the biblical Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. He is a central figure for Druse, who make an annual pilgrimage to his shrine.
The plight of the Syrian Druse has raised anxiety in the Israeli Druse community and there have been frequent protests going on over the past few days.
Israeli Druse are going to continue demonstrating daily, Jaber Hamoud, the head of the Druse and Circassian Local Councils Forum, told the Post on Saturday night from a protest in the Druse village of Sajur.
Druse protests continued on Monday.
“The Druse do not need soldiers, because they have many volunteers, even though their numbers are small. They need weapons,” said Kara on Monday in Israel’s largest Druse town of Daliat al-Carmel, in the presence of 40 foreign journalists who came to cover the Syrian Druse issue.
“The interest of the free world as well as the moderate Arab world is to support the Druse,” he said, adding, “I believe that at the end of the day, the Druse will defeat Islamic State and Nusra Front, the children of Satan.”
Kara added that he came to a personal understanding with the Jordanians on the Druse in the area of Sweida, Syria, where Islamic State is threatening the city from the east.
Kara is going to travel to Turkey in order to try to deal with the situation of the Druse in Idlib.
Twenty Druse villagers were reportedly killed in the village of Qalb Loze in Idlib province last week when Nusra Front members opened fire in an incident that spiraled from their attempt to confiscate a house.
The Nusra Front acknowledged on Saturday that its members were involved in the killing of Druse villagers in northwestern Syria last week, saying they had violated orders and would face justice.
The Nusra Front said it had received with “great sorrow” news of the incident in which “a number of Nusra Front members” had taken part without consulting their leaders.
Druse in Israel have been lobbying for arms to be sent to Syria, a US official has said. Lebanese Druse politicians aligned with the Syrian government have also called for the arming of their brethren in Syria.
Reuters contributed to this report.