Druse Zionist Council to host Jewish Agency's Bielski

Nasser-A-Din would like to see the Druse brought into the national consciousness in Israel.

It's been 30 years since the UN passed its resolution equating Zionism with racism. Incidentally, 2005 also marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Druse Zionist Council (DZC). The eight thousand-strong DZC will play host to Jewish Agency Chairman Ze'ev Bielski on Monday in the Druse town of Daliat al-Carmel near Haifa. Among the issues to be discussed in the meeting is the future of Druse-Jewish relations. "We are interested in strengthening the connection between Druse and Jews," said DZC President Youssef Nasser-A-Din. "We run activities for children, teens and university students aimed at fostering understanding and coexistence between the two groups. Jewish students learn about Druse heritage and Druse students learn about Jewish heritage." A Druse businessman and Daliat al-Carmel resident, Nasser-A-Din is the volunteer president of the DZC. He recalls why he and other Druse Israelis decided to form the council: "As non-Jewish citizens of Israel, we experience firsthand what it means to live in a Zionist state - one that is democratic with a Jewish majority. We felt that the UN condemnation of Zionism did not reflect our reality," Nasser-A-Din said. "We help with the development of Israel and we fully serve in the IDF. We consider ourselves Israelis through and through. "We participate in the Druse Zionist Council because the State of Israel is the result of Zionism, and we are full participants in the State of Israel. I see no contradiction in being both Druse and a Zionist," he added.