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druze

  • Druze draft refuser sent to Israeli military prison, put in solitary

    Druze-Arab men, unlike other Arab citizens of Israel, are subject to the same mandatory conscription as Jewish Israelis. Kamal Zidan is refusing because of his Palestinian identity. Kamal Zidan, an Arab-Druze citizen of Israel, presented himself at the Israeli army’s Tel HaShomer induction based last Sunday and declared that he refuses to be conscripted into the IDF. Zidan, whose refusal is based on his Palestinian identity, was sentenced on the spot to five days in military prison by an administrative tribunal. Unlike Muslim and Christian Arab citizens of Israel, Druze men are subject to mandatory military conscription just like Jewish Israelis.…

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  • How Israel betrayed its most loyal minority

    The Nation-State Law, which enshrines supremacy for Jews in Israel, has made it clear to the country's Druze population that we are not equals. So why don't we demand it be abolished completely? By Dalia Halabi The Jewish Nation-State Law has been a watershed moment for Israel’s Druze population and its relationship to the Jewish state and its institutions. The law clearly states that there is no such thing as an “Israeli” citizenship; that this land is home to those who were born Jews, as well as those who were not born to the "chosen people." [tmwinpost] Over the past few days, I have heard many from my community reel in real…

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  • The Syrian refugees Israelis prefer to forget

    As opposed to Palestinian refugees, the fate of the Syrians expelled from the Golan Heights by Israel in 1967 was covered up and hidden from public awareness. Even today, most Israelis believe the area was largely empty of Syrians, and anyone who may have been there fled voluntarily. By Irit Gal Among the Syrian refugees fleeing their burning country to the European countries that were kind enough to open their gates, there are those who belong to a second generation of refugees. The first fled in 1967 when the Syrian Golan Heights were conquered by the Israeli army. In contrast to the refugees in the West Bank and…

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  • I was IDF property for three years — today I'm traumatized

    Every time I hear about another Druze who refuses to go to the army, I think about how he won't have to suffer. He will avoid the trauma of becoming the human property of the IDF. By Fayez Abu Hayeh "Soldier, straighten up!" It was 2 a.m., I was lying on the ground, my backpack under me. The commander yelled: "Soldier, straighten up!" and I, an exhausted soldier, didn't understand. All I wanted was a place to escape to, a framework that would take me in. Today I understand that I was the IDF's property, like every Druze, like everyone who serves in this…

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  • One inciting prime minister and 11 destroyed homes

    Hundreds of Palestinian citizens demonstrate against the demolition of homes in the Arab town of Qalansuwa earlier this week. In a week during which the Israeli media focused mostly on itself and Benjamin Netanyahu's latest corruption scandal, we in the Arab community focused on our homes, and our basic right to live on this land. This past week the government destroyed 11 homes in the town of Qalansuwa, striking a blow against a fifth of the population. The prime minister shared a Facebook post titled "Our forces destroyed Arab homes," unleashing the venom of his followers, hungry for revenge and driven…

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  • The silent occupation: Bringing pre-1967 Golan Heights back to life

    With war raging over Israel's border with Syria, it's easy to forget that the Golan Heights — a buffer between the two countries — is occupied territory. But occupied it is, and the landscape bears witness to a history of violence and expulsion. "The sky fell to earth, the stars turned to stones..." — Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun I’m standing at the top of a crumbling minaret, looking into Syria. The tower belongs to a mosque in the destroyed Circassian village of Sur’aman, whose ruins are gradually being consumed by the woods around them. In the distance lies…

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  • From Haifa to Beirut: '48 Palestinians challenge regional isolation

    For Palestinian citizens of Israel, especially those from the Haifa area, Beirut holds near mythical stature. The two cities share near-identical Arabic dialects, cuisine and the cultural elements, and just a few decades ago traveling between them would have been a mere two-hour drive. Today that is almost unimaginable That disconnection between the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, or “’48 Palestinians” as they are sometimes called, and the wider Arab world has been a source of pain and resentment ever since the borders slammed shut in 1948. The majority of Palestinians were locked outside, but over 1 million live in…

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  • Israel's Druze reject Netanyahu's divide-and-conquer policies

    A newly-approved Druze town is slated to be built atop destroyed Palestinian villages. But the Druze community refuses to let the government sow discord among Israel's ethnic minorities under the guise of development. With great fanfare, the Prime Minister's Office released a press statement Tuesday announcing that the National Planning Council had approved the prime minister's initiative to build a new Druze town in Israel. According to Netanyahu, the town would be the first since the foundation of the state. Netanyahu made much of the plan, claiming it would "advance the Druze sector." (Sector is the term Israel uses to describe its…

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  • First, do no harm: Israel and the Druze in Syria

    Some Druze in Israel are campaigning for intervention to save their kin on the Syrian side of the border, but the Druze in Syria reject the idea out of hand. Instead, they are demanding that Israel stop supporting the people threatening to massacre them. By Rabah Halabi ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra are fanatical religious movements that pose a danger first and foremost to moderate and enlightened Islam, then to the Arab world, and humanity itself. These same dark forces are threatening the wellbeing and very existence of the Druze in Syria, because of their religious beliefs, which they have held…

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  • The Beaten Path: Tel Aviv's after hours - a night apart (part 12)

    Tel Aviv isn't a single bubble, but rather a bubble made up of myriad sexual, political and social identities. But between the sex, drugs and rock n' roll lies a city whose nightlife is also full of homegrown segregation. Part 12 of Yuval Ben-Ami’s journey through the Holy Land’s most popular tourist sites. It was American-Jewish thinker Abraham Joshua Heschel who proposed, in his essay dedicated to the holy Seventh Day, that the Sabbath is "a palace in time." “Judaism," he wrote, "teaches us to be attached to holiness in time, to be attached to sacred events, to learn how to consecrate…

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  • [WATCH] The Druze in Israel: Resisting conscription (part 4)

    According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The fourth part of this series looks at a new movement of young Druze women and men who challenging both the state and their predecessors by refusing to join the army. Watch parts one ('A history lesson'), two ('Land expropriation') and three ('Appropriating identity') of this series. Related: Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad released from military service Activists show solidarity with latest…

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  • [WATCH] The Druze in Israel: Appropriating identity (part 3)

    According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The third part of this series looks at Druze identity and its variations: from Palestinian to Israeli. Watch parts one ('A history lesson') and two ('Land expropriation') of this series. Related: Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa'ad released from military service Activists show solidarity with latest Druze conscientious objector

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  • [WATCH] Druze refusal in the Israeli army: Land expropriation (part two)

    According to the mainstream Israeli narrative the Druze population in Israel is loyal to and maintains an alliance with the state, the most famous element of which includes mandatory military service. But is that really the whole story? The second episode in this four-part series looks at how despite drafting Druze men into the army, the State of Israel took over 85 percent of their land and settled Jews on it instead. Watch part one of the series: 'A history lesson'.

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