The Druze leadership with President Reuven Rivlin. (Mark Neyman/GPO) (Mark Neyman/GPO)
Druze Rivlin

Stressing the close bonds between Jews and the Druze, Israel is building a new Druze town, the first since its establishment as a state.  

For the first time since the establishment of the state, the National Planning and Building Council approved plans for the establishment of a new Druze town in northern Israel.

The town will be established in the Lower Galilee, near Tiberias.

The Prime Minister’s Office stressed that existing Druze towns are built on the slopes of hills and suffer from significant planning limitations due to their locations near nature reserves. The new town will be established on an urban basis close to infrastructures and on land that is suitable for development and close to centers of employment. It will, therefore, provide an appropriate and modern response and will advance the Druze population economically and socially.

“For the first time since the foundation of the state, we are building a new Druze town,” Prime MInister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Tuesday. “I ascribe great importance to the establishment of a new Druze town that will advance the Druze sector. The Druze community has bound its fate to the State of Israel. The proportion of enlistment in the IDF is among the highest in the state and many Druze are in IDF combat units. This is only part of our extensive activity for the Druze community and we are carrying out our commitments to the community.”

This dramatic announcement follows the Israeli cabinet approval of an proposal by Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon in June for an unprecedented NIS 2.2 billion ($775M), five-year plan for the advancement of the Druze and Circassian communities.

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: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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