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Israel’s 30,000 Druze Lifted from ‘minority’ Status, Eshkol Announces

The affairs of Israel’s 30,000 Druze, an Arabic speaking, non-Moslem religious community, have been removed from the minorities departments of the various Government ministries, and will hereafter be directed through the same channels used by Israel’s Jewish citizens, it was announced today by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. He made the announcement at a special meeting with Druze leaders, at which he hailed the community’s loyalty to Israel during 19 years of statehood.

Unlike Israel’s Arab population, Druze serve in the armed forces and form a high percentage of Israel’s border police, which is responsible for combating infiltration and sabotage. During Israel’s War for Independence, 1948-1949, the Sinai Campaign of 1956 and the Six-Day War last June, Druze have identified themselves with the Jewish majority, and their soldiers and policemen have a high record of bravery in the field.