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Committee to Investigate Problems Arising in Israel’s Druze Community

Deputy Premier David Levy announced yesterday that he will head an ad hoc committee to investigate and resolve problems arising in Israel’s 50,000-strong Druze community. He was replying to charges in the Knesset that Israeli Druze do not enjoy equal rights with other citizens. The Druze are loyal to Israel and allowed to serve in its armed forces.

But MK Amnon Lin of the Labor Alignment, an expert on Arab affairs, said in an agenda motion that the Druze lack full partnership with Jews. Israel is not doing enough to ensure that the Druze community is not discriminated against, he said, especially in light of the sacrifices it made in Israel’s defense. Druze soldiers and border policemen sustained more than half the fatalities in the November 4 truck-bomb attack on Israeli military headquarters in Tyre.

“We must realize that Arab communities in Israel watch us every day and every hour to see how we treat the Druze, the Circassians and other non-Jews who share the duty of the defense of the country,” Lin said. He asserted that every non-Jewish soldier should be confident that his future, his livelihood, his standard of living and his sense of belonging are equal to those of Jewish soldiers.

Lin’s motion was supported by Likud MK Nasser A-Din, himself a Druze, who said there was anger and disappointment in the Druze community. He noted that there is not a single Druze in a senior position in Israel’s civil service. Druze army veterans are poorly treated. There is little industry in Druze villages and the village schools lack proper facilities, he said.

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