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April 24, 2013 10:46 am

IDF Chief Gantz to Druze Community: We Are Brothers in Arms

avatar by Zach Pontz

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IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benjamin Gantz's Photo: IDF.

Israel’s Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, sent a letter to Israel’s Druze community Wednesday in honor of the Druze holiday of Nabi Shu’aib, a celebration of the Islamic prophet Shu’aib. In the letter, Gantz praised the Druze community’s long-standing commitment to the State of Israel’s security.

“In the loyalty oath ceremony of the first Druze soldiers in the midst of the [1948] battle for liberation, the young fighters vowed the following: ‘As long as I assist as a volunteer in the liberation war of the people of Israel in its land, I vow and swear on my honor to take upon myself, without condition and without exception, the burden of discipline of the Israel Defense Forces.’ This oath, clear and dedicated, was an important milestone in the deep relationship between the IDF and the Druze community, which became over the years a courageous and productive relationship, to which we continue to bear witness today,” Lt. Gen. Gantz wrote.

Gantz lauded the relationship between the Jewish and Druze people saying that “for the entire 65 years of Israel’s independence – two nations have lived a shared life, with respect and mutual appreciation, in our hearts we all pray that this relationship will be a model for the nations of the region”.

Lt. Gen. Gantz concluded his letter with a message of hope that the future will bring the Jewish and Druze peoples even closer. “In honor of Nabi Shu’aib, on behalf of the entire IDF, I wish you a happy holiday. May we continue to strengthen our connection and bring the unique relationship between our two peoples even closer.”

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  • jerry hersch

    Does this apply to the 500,000 Druze of Syria and the 300,000 Druze in Lebanon ?
    Has Israel been cultivating friendship with these groups.
    Largely anti-Assad and anti-Hezbollah they will have little recourse other than affiliating Sunni groups for physical safety.

    • jay

      Well said jerry hersch.

      Israel should advocate for the rights of druze all over the region, the same as it does for jews all over the world. We owe them that much.