Israel’s Bond with Its Druze Community Appears to Be Threatened

Israel’s long standing “blood bond” with its Druze population appeared to be threatened today because of the fighting between Druze and Christians in Lebanon. Young leaders of Israel’s Druze community warned that this might happen because of the Israel army’s alleged failure to protect Lebanese Druze.

The Druze, a non-Arab Moslem group, have always been loyal to the Israeli state, serve in the army and hold positions in government. But that relationship became strained since Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, and particularly since fighting broke out between Israelbacked Christian Phalangists and Druze villagers in the Israel-occupied Shouf mountains.

DRUZE LIST OF DEMANDS

Druze speakers at a press conference here today said hundreds of Israeli Druze wanted to desert to Lebanon to help their brethren who, they said, were facing annihilation. Zeidan Atachi, a former information officer at an Israeli consulate in the U.S., and Sa’id Halabi demanded that Israel get the Phalangists out of the Shouf maintains, open the roads to Druze villages, return the villagers’ weapons, and pay reparations for Druze orchards and vehicles damaged in recent weeks.

They also demanded an inquiry into the “treatment of the Lebanese Druze by various security branches” of the Israeli forces in Lebanon. Reporters were told that Druze officers serving in Lebanon were invited to resign two months ago if Israeli policies conflicted with their loyalty to their Druze brethren in Lebanon. The officers were told that Israel was about to organize a Christian Lebanese army headed by Maj. Saad Haddad.

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