Hundreds of Druze and Circassian citizens protested in Tel Aviv Sunday, over what they claim is a breach of government promises: Including failure to transfer a budget of NIS 200 million, and the lack of a five-year economic plan.
The heads of the 16 Druze and Circassian communities were demanding the government correct the long-standing discrimination against them, as well as fulfill its promises to the communities.
The protest began after the leadership of the Druze and Circassian communities reached an impasse with government representatives after the five-year economic plan that had been approved in 2015 to fund these communities was slashed by the government.
As a compromise, the parties agreed that the state would transfer a budget of NIS 200 million, but then came the coronavirus crisis, which halted the budget transfers.
The protesters carried Israeli flags and the Druze community's flag, and signs with slogans directed at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which read, “You took my honor, you betrayed me my brother”, “brother don’t betray brothers”, and “we don’t have a job, you betrayed us”.
The chairman of the Druze and Circassian authorities forum, and head of the Sajour council, Jabar Hamoud said: "We are going to war, not a protest. just like we fight for the country, we will fight for our rights, all the people of Israel are with us. NIS 10 million allocated for education, and what about us?
The demonstrators called on Netanyahu and his coalition partner Blue & White leader Benny Gantz to keep their word: claiming 25,000 Druze and Circassian voters backed Gantz who promised to stand with them and rectify the Nation-State bill from 2018 that they see as insulting to their communities.
The bill declared Israel and the national state of the Jews and left the minorities feeling they were second class citizens.
“Bereaved families have no food at home.” continued Hamud, “We have all served in the military as trusted partners, we did so out of responsibility for our country, and we will not allow the politicians to betray us. "
Knesset members and heads of local government including Tel Aviv-Jaffa Mayor Ron Huldai joined the protesters saying Druze and Circassian communities are not different from major cities in Israel
The demonstrators blocked a major intersection in Tel Aviv while police forces for on hand to protect them and ensure public order.
First published: 18:19 , 05.10.20