Druze and Circassian local leaders demonstrated outside the Prime Minister's office Sunday at the start of what they have called one month of rage protesting lack of funding from the government.
The month of rage includes a general strike in Druze and Circassian communities in the north of the country with schools and businesses to remain closed.
The government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to allocate NIS 200 million for 16 regional and local councils and to facilitate zoning and construction of housing badly needed in those communities.
The government decision from 2015 laid out a budget that had expired in December of 2019 and never renewed.
"You have betrayed us," called out Jaber Hamoud, head of the Forum of Druze and Circassian Regional Councils, "we are no less Israelis than the Jewish community," he said.
Hamoud also told the prime minister that the Druze do not have to prove their loyalty to the country, "you must prove your loyalty to us," he said.
After the Knesset passed the Nation-State Law in 2018, tensions between the Druze and Circassian communities and the government were high. The bill declared Israel and the national state of the Jews and left the minorities feeling they were second class citizens.
After the Knesset passed the Nation-State Law in 2018, tensions between the Druze and Circassian communities and the government were high. The bill declared Israel and the national state of the Jews and left the minorities feeling they were second class citizens.ך
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz during his election campaigns had promised to amend the Nation-State bill to honor the contribution of these minority communities. Both the Druze and Circassian men serve in the IDF unlike most of the Israeli Arab communities.
The demonstrators said they would keep their schools closed until the government releases funds because they are unable to prepare schools to operate under Health Ministry guidelines issued to fight coronavirus.
"We cannot afford to disinfect our classrooms or monitor the temperature of our students," Hamoud said adding that the regional councils will advance housing projects without government planning permits as well if those remain unforthcoming.
First published: 17:15 , 05.03.20