A first-of-its-kind joint Jewish-Druze military academy opened its gates last Wednesday in the northern Druze town of Daliyat al-Karmel‎, near Haifa.

Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara, who also heads the government’s efforts to develop the Druze and Bedouin sectors in Israel, was present at the ceremony.

The academy, he said, illustrates how “the Druze and the Jews are in essence one people that decided to come together to sanctify the values of life, democracy, freedom of expression, religion and movement, and this is what our sons are fighting for, every hour of every day.”

Kara described the alliance as the safeguard protecting Israel’s Jews and Druze, even in very problematic areas.

At the end of his speech, Kara saluted the heads of the Israel National Defense College, which he said was sending many students to the elite units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), 15 percent as officers, the highest percentage in the IDF.

Sixty cadets are training and studying at the academy this year.

Israel’s government has recently announced several plans to boost and develop the Druze sector.

The Druze, a religious minority in Israel, are known for their military courage and dedication to the State of Israel. Today, 85 percent of Israel’s male Druze population chooses to join the Israeli military, and many will continue their service far beyond their scheduled release dates.

The Druze religion is rooted in Ismailism, a branch of Shiite Islam. Communities are mostly found in Syria, Lebanon and Israel.

Israeli Druze have attained top positions in politics and public service. The number of Druze Knesset members, representing diverse political parties, exceeds their proportion among the Israeli population.

By: JNS.org and United with Israel Staff