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July 28, 2018 10:42 pm

Dozens of Top IDF Officers Sign Letters Supporting Druze Protest Against Nation-State Law

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

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IDF officers visit the site where a terror tunnel was exposed at Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza. Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Dozens of present and former top IDF officers have issued open letters opposing Israel’s new nation-state law and supporting the Druze and members of other minority communities that serve in the Israeli army who oppose the law.

One of the letters, Hebrew news website Walla reported on Saturday, was spearheaded by former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and bears the names of dozens of officers and soldiers from the elite Golani Brigade. The signers state that they “embrace, support, and feel the pain of our Druze, Bedouin, and Circassian brothers and sisters, as well as all the communities that serve in the security forces and tied their fate with the people that dwells in Zion since the establishment of the state.”

“We have no intention of expressing a political opinion,” the missive continued, “simply to remind us all and the entire people of Israel that these extraordinary communities stood and stand with us in the defense of the state. … This land is drenched in the blood of their loved ones and they are with us shoulder to shoulder.”

A similar letter was issued by a group of former commanders of the IDF Paratroopers Brigade, including former chiefs of staff Moshe Yaalon and Benny Gantz. It declared that the signers “stand at the side of our brothers in arms, the officers and soldiers and the entire Druze community and the communities that have tied their fates with ours and volunteered to defend the State of Israel with their bodies, in their struggle for full equal rights in our state.”

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They asserted that they took this stance “beyond any political stance or political affiliation … as an expression of the principles of solidarity, brotherhood, and unity.”

Former defense minister and IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz spoke up personally on the subject, saying, “those who passed the nation-state bill betrayed the Druze community. … If I was in their place I would apologize and correct this.”

The nation-state bill passed last week enshrines Israel’s status as a Jewish state into its quasi-constitutional Basic Laws. Defenders of the bill say that it merely codifies the existing status quo, but minority groups such as the Druze believe it harms their status as equal citizens of a democratic state.

A large demonstration against the new law was held Saturday night in Tel Aviv.

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