Druze protest funding discrimination


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Benjamin Netanyahu met a delegation of Israeli Druze leaders following a demonstration outside his office.

Several hundred Druze demonstrators threw eggs, bottles and other objects at police Sunday during the demonstration protesting discrimination in state funding for their villages.

During their meeting with the prime minister Sunday afternoon, the representatives of the Druze community briefed Netanyahu on the difficulties facing the Druze community and Druze local councils on  issues such as water and electricity shortages, and insufficient funds for the payment of municipality employee wages.

Netanyahu instructed Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eli Gabai to find a solution for the Druze councils and to assist them as much as possible, according to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

"I recognize and appreciate the contribution of the Druze community to the security of the state," Netanyahu said, according to the statement. "I think that we must make an extra effort here, as I did in my first term as prime minister. I am aware of the councils’ problems and that all of you realize that there is a complicated global crisis that has yet to be resolved. But despite this limitation, we will find the solution. Therefore, I ask that a supreme effort be made to help our brothers; they are our brothers."

Netanyahu told the meeting that a Druze soldier once saved his life.

Druze serve in the Israeli army. More than 100,000 Druze are living in Israel, including 18,000 on the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War.

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