Netanyahu to submit bill to invest in Arab Druze, Circassian communities


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will submit a plan to the Knesset for increased funds for the Arab Druze and Muslim Circassian communities.

The plan will include money for education, infrastructure and employment “in order to reduce the existing disparities,” Netanyahu announced Saturday night on his Facebook page and Sunday in an official announcement from his office. The announcement said the investments would be “significant” but did not provide an amount.

Netanyahu met last week with leaders of the Druze community, where he told them about plans to submit the bill.

During the meeting, Netanyahu also told the leaders that the bill proclaiming Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people would not harm their status and would even entrench their equality in Israeli society. The measure, known as the nation-state law, is set for a vote next week in the Knesset.

About 130,000 Druze and some 4,000 Israeli Circassians live in northern Israel. The latter, who live in two villages, are Sunni Muslims whose ancestors were expelled in the late 1800s by the Russians from the Caucasus Mountains.

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