Israeli officials condemn discrimination against Druze troops

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli officials condemned an incident in which Druze Israeli Air Force troops were not permitted to enter the nuclear reactor in Dimona as part of a security drill.

The incident, which reportedly occurred several weeks ago, was reported in the Israeli media over the weekend, and was first reported in Yediot Acharonot.

“Our brothers the Druze are our flesh and blood. They serve in combat units in the IDF and should be treated as equals,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Saturday night, according to Israel Radio.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon called the incident “serious and outrageous, and it absolutely contradicts all our policies.”

“It is difficult to stand by and watch such discrimination, but this incident will not damage the ties between the State of Israel and the Druze,” he said.

The incident occurred when a busload of Israeli Air Force troops arrived at the Dimona nuclear reactor for a security drill. Three Druze soldiers, including one officer, were not permitted to enter the building, reportedly on orders from the Negev Nuclear Research Center.

Following an outcry from their fellow soldiers, the Druze soldiers were permitted to enter, about a half-hour later.

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