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Druze in the Israeli army between leadership and refusal to serve


A study conducted by the annual Israeli Herzliya Conference showed that 54% of Druze refuse conscription, while a study by Haifa University stated that 65% of them refuse military service.


The appointment of the Druze general, Ghassan Elyan, as coordinator for Palestinian lands affairs in the Israeli Ministry of Security, sparked a debate about the reality of the Druze in the occupation army, knowing that he succeeded the Druze general, Kamil Abu Rukn, who took over this position during the past years.

The following questions shed light on the role that the Druze occupy in the occupation army, its size, and why is this role escalating? And the extent of the existence of an internal Druze opposition to this involvement in the Israeli security and military establishment.


How many Druze in Israel?

Today, approximately 143,000 people live in Israel, 1.6% of the population of Israel, and 7.6% of the total Arab population in it distributed over many areas, especially the Galilee, Carmel and the Golan Heights, and a number of them held Knesset membership and held governmental, ministerial and diplomatic positions in Israeli governments. .

When did the Druze join the Israeli army?

Israeli estimates vary about a specific date for this issue. It is likely that since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Druze volunteered to serve in the army, within a battalion that included the Druze, Bedouins and Circassians, in fulfillment of what was called the "blood pact", which was legalized by David Ben-Gurion, the first Israeli prime minister.

In 1956, after an agreement was signed with the leader of the Druze community, a law was enacted requiring the Druze to join the army, and in 1974 the Druze battalion called "Heref", meaning the sword, was established, and it is a ground force among the regular forces of the army, most of its soldiers are Druze, after a decision was made to integrate All minority units are under one command.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "Our Druze brothers are partners in preserving Israeli security, and we will enhance their position in the Israeli army." We influence the Druze of Syria and Lebanon. "


What are the most important tasks that the Druze serve in the Israeli army?

The percentage of Druze who perform military service in the Israeli army is 85%, which is more than the percentage of Jews involved in the ranks of the army, and the wars fought by Israel have recorded the killing of nearly 400 Druze, who served in the various units of the occupation army, especially the selected infantry fighting brigades and the police. And border guards.

The Israeli Defense Minister decided to promote Brigadier General Ghassan Alyan, former commander of the Golani Brigade, to the rank of major general and appoint him to the position of Coordinator of Government Activities in the Palestinian Territories, succeeding Major General Camille Abu Rukn. Alyan will be the third Druze to hold the position pic.twitter.com/MQlMN9LZIn

- Israel in Arabic (@IsraelArabic) October 8, 2020


Among the prominent names in the occupation army, Ghassan Alayyan, who led the Golani Brigade, was seriously wounded during the 2014 Gaza war by Hamas fighters, and in 2018, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, killed the Druze officer "M.", the commander of the Israeli special unit that infiltrated the Gaza Strip.


Do Druze soldiers suffer from racial discrimination against them?

The media publish from time to time some of the bad treatment that the Druze soldiers are suffering from, amounting to moral and physical torture, abuse and humiliation by the Jewish soldiers. One of them was boycotted by them, and they refused to talk to him, describing him as a "Palestinian dog and terrorist."


There is another Druze soldier whose Jewish officer once asked him to clean the toilet, and when he refused, he was prevented from entering the dining room, and he did not bring him food for 3 days, and when he submitted a complaint to his commanders, they ignored it, and none of them hesitated to rebuke him, saying, "I do not have time now, leave From here, O Arab. "

Druze people complain of discrimination against them and took part in the demonstrations that took place in Israel against the Nationality Law of 2018 (European)

Meanwhile, Rabbi Meir Kahane, the leader of the "Kach" movement, demanded the expulsion of the Druze from Israel, despite their service in the army, saying sarcastically, "We must make sure to provide air-conditioned buses for them during the expulsion."


How much is the percentage of Druze opposition to serving in the Israeli army?

Recent years have witnessed divisions within the Druze community regarding military service in the Israeli army, and the Druze community is witnessing a remarkable movement to reject the compulsory conscription imposed on its youth, and the Druze religious authorities in Lebanon and Syria have categorically rejected any dealings with the occupation army.


In recent years, the Arab Druze Initiative Committee has organized about 265 activities against military service, to raise awareness of its danger, and the result has been an increase in the percentage of those who refuse compulsory service in the army, and it is estimated today at 60%.

A study conducted by the annual Israeli Herzliya Conference showed that 54% of Druze refuse to be conscripted, and a study by Haifa University stated that 65% of them refuse military service.

Amal Jamal, a professor of political science at Tel Aviv University, a Druze who lives in Mayor Hobeish, said, "Netanyahu's strategy aims to ignite internal divisions in the Druze community, and that sections of them are increasingly questioning whether they incurred a double price in exchange for their agreement to serve in the Israeli army." ".


When did the Druze opposition begin to serve in the Israeli army?

Since the late 1970s, the Arab Druze Initiative Committee began campaigns to cancel the recruitment of Druze, and Sheikh Farhood Farhood issued the first petition against compulsory conscription, and then continued petitions rejecting the law, and in recent years, the Druze witnessed a remarkable movement to reject the recruitment imposed on their young men with the establishment of the “Reject” movement ... your people protect you, ”and“ we are the guardians of the land, not border guards. ”These movements provide a support network for those who refuse or abstain from conscription, which includes volunteer lawyers, lawyers and psychologists.


Arab circles inside Israel talk about the presence of dozens of Druze youths, who refuse to serve in the military, and have been arrested in the prisons of Atlit and Sarafand. Because they refuse to take up arms against their Palestinian people, and they cannot join the army, which prevents the Palestinians from accessing their lands; This reflects the high level of national and national awareness.

Ghaleb Seif, head of the Arab Druze Initiative Committee, says, "I live in a very harsh internal struggle because I am Palestinian. I have been forced to serve in the ranks of the Israeli army, and since my withdrawal from it until today, I refuse and resist compulsory conscription. I have 4 children who refused to join military service, and I pay them a heavy price. In return, this is the case for thousands of young Druze who are arrested and expelled from their workplaces because they refuse to join the military service within the ranks of the army.


What are the justifications for the Druze to refuse military service?

Israeli army figures indicate that the percentage of Druze refusing to serve in the military is on the rise, rates that have raised concerns among its generals. Because expectations indicate that it will continue to rise in the coming years.

The percentage of Druze refusal to serve in the occupation army increases with the outbreak of critical incidents with the Palestinians, represented in the 1987 Intifada, the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2000, and the recent Gaza wars between 2008-2014. Which raised many questions about the reasons that led to the phenomenon of the Druze refusal to military service, whether it is related to the awakening of the conscience of the conscripts, or their fear of death and destruction, or it is a structural crisis afflicting Israeli society, including the Druze, and their consideration of the practices of the occupation army in which they serve As "immoral and corrupt".

Amir Jamal, a Druze officer in the Israeli army, with the rank of captain, announced that he would withdraw from service in the Israeli army, and called on the leaders of the Druze community to call on youth to reject the policy of compulsory conscription, and to work to stop it.

Sheikh Nimr Nimr from the Druze Initiative Committee declared, "the refusal of compulsory service in the Israeli army on the basis of national, patriotic, conscientious, moral and humanitarian grounds together. We are fair Arabs whether Israel or not, and the successive governments have been imposing this service to drive wedges to differentiate between the sons of the same people, and divide it into Sects. "


How does Israel deal with the Druze military service refusers?

Druze refusers to compulsory recruitment in the Israeli army are subjected to military trials, which condemn those who refuse to serve from 5 to 30 days in prison, then release him to be summoned again, and a similar term of imprisonment, which may be repeated several times, in an attempt to pressure the refuser. Conscription to influence his decision, and push him to return, before his file is transferred to the Military Prosecution.

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