PM Netanyhu meets with Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif. (Photo: Koby Gideon/GPO) PM Netanyhu meets with Druze leader Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif. (Photo: Koby Gideon/GPO)
PM Netanyahu during a cabinet meeting. (Photo: Haim Tsach/GPO)

PM Netanyahu (C) during a cabinet meeting. (Photo: Haim Tzach/GPO)

Israel pays tribute to its loyal minorities by approving a massive project that will deeply impact and improve the lives of the Druze and Circassians.  

The Druze and Circassian communities are extremely loyal minorities in the Jewish State, and Israel has decide to show love in return by approving a unique project that allocates substantial governmental funds for the development and improvement of their communities.

The Cabinet approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal for the first allocation – approximately NIS 185 million – of a five-year plan for Druze and Circassian communities during its meeting on Sunday.

The funds are intended to maintain operational continuity of development for these communities and meet their immediate needs.

This first faze is part of a multi-year plan, worth over NIS 2 billion, which is yet to be approved.

Netanyahu said that he had recently met with Druze community leaders, led by Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, in the wake of the death of Master Sergeant Zidan Saif, the Druze policeman who was killed during the Jerusalem synagogue massacre last month.

“I told him that we would be submitting this plan. This is a wide-ranging plan on infrastructures, employment, education and other issues and it will do two things: One, it will reduce gaps between this population and the population at large,” Netanyahu stated.

Citing the exceptional contribution to Israel’s security by the Druze and Circassians, the prime minister said that the plan “will express appreciation for the unique role of Druze and Circassian policemen and soldiers, who are our very flesh, who fight and fall in defense of our people. I think that this is one of the ways to express this appreciation.”

Better Infrastructure and Services

This crucial undertaking is a joint collaboration and inter-ministerial plan that includes projects by the Prime Minister’s Office as well as several ministries.

Druze dignitaries visit an IDF naval base. (Photo: IDF)

Druze dignitaries visit an IDF naval base. (Photo: IDF)

The plan is comprised of subsidies for developing plots of land for discharged soldiers, ranging between 75-90 percent of the costs.

The decision further includes an allocation of NIS 9.5 million for operating employment-guidance centers and aiding small businesses, and NIS 5 million for developing the tourist sector in Druze and Circassian communities.

Detailed master plans will be completed and new public institutions built. The project allocates a NIS 52 million investment in internal and inter-city roads and road safety.

The plan also includes NIS 45 million in additional increases in formal and informal education, expanded social services and an expansion of the city-without-violence project.

Of note, the plan entails the opening of branches of Yad LeBanim, the association of the families of fallen soldiers of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Security Forces, starting with memorial sites for fallen security personal, in Druze villages of Isfiya, Yarkha and Beit Jann.

Druze and Circassians – Part and Parcel of Israeli Society

Israeli police catrry the coffin of Druze policeman Zidan Seif.  (Photo: Flash90)

Israeli police carry the coffin of Druze policeman Zidan Saif. (Photo: Flash90)

This initiative will benefit the Druze and Circassian populations, which number approximately 134,000.

Members of these communities are found in all walks of life and have attained top positions in Israeli politics and public service. The number of Druze Knesset members exceeds their proportion in the Israeli population, integrated within several political parties.

They are full citizens of Israel, who are drafted into mandatory service in the IDF as are the majority of Israelis. The Druze population is known for its special commitment to the IDF. 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.

By: United with Israel Staff

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