Einav Halabi
Einav Halabi
The Israeli and Druze flags

We, Druze, are an inalienable part of Israeli society

Opinion: There were never any doubts about me being Israeli, that is how I was brought up and so were most members of the Druze community, but according to the Nation-State Law, my children and I are not equal citizens

Einav Halabi |
Published: 05.19.22, 23:25
I am a proud Druze. I love my country and being Israeli was ingrained in me since birth.
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  • There were never any doubts about me being Israeli, that is how I was brought up and so were most members of the Druze community.
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    דרוזים בדלית אל-כרמל
    דרוזים בדלית אל-כרמל
    The Israeli and Druze flags
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Many would call the Druze fighters, and they would be correct. But fighting bears many meanings, and so do courage and charging on the battlefield as the 451 fallen Druze servicemembers who gallantly gave their lives since Israel's inception can attest.
    For me, they are Israeli heroes, not just Druze heroes, and sometimes there is no need to point out their religious identity. They fought first and foremost because they were Israelis, just like their Jewish brothers and sisters in arms.
    Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kehir el-Din, who died in a botched intelligence operation in Gaza in 2018, was one of them. He was a social leader and a courageous man. He was the most Israeli anyone could be and besides his name and religion, he couldn't have been categorized otherwise.
    I did not know him personally, but I believe he would have scorned the cheap political discourse around his death and the 2018 Nation-State Law.
    The passing of the bill was a dark moment for many of the Druze community. It was a slap in the face for many of us who feel like an inalienable part of the country and Israeli society.
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    בית העלמין הצבאי בעוספיא ריק ביום הזיכרון
    בית העלמין הצבאי בעוספיא ריק ביום הזיכרון
    A military cemetery for fallen Druze soldiers
    (Photo: Daniel Salami)
    The law states that Israel is the "national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfills its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination."
    The law's Clause 7 states that "the state views the development of Jewish settlement as a national value and will act to encourage and promote its establishment and consolidation" is essentially distinguishing between citizens on religious grounds.
    What does it mean? It means that my children and I are not equal citizens. The Nation-State Law is an expression of bitter racism that cries out to the heavens, which to me is inconceivable.
    On the one hand, I am considered what's beautiful about Israel, an Israel that embraces diversity, a rich social and cultural mosaic.
    On the other hand, puts a red, bright stop sign in front of me that reminds me: "You're 'almost' Israeli; you don't belong." This law and this treatment beget horrible frustration.
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    הפגנה נגד חוק הלאום בכיכר רבין
    הפגנה נגד חוק הלאום בכיכר רבין
    Druze demonstrate the controversial Nation-State Law in 2018
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi)
    We, Druze, never opposed Israel's existence as a Jewish state. And no one can deny that. On the contrary, we've always fought and continue to fight shoulder by shoulder with the Jews to achieve stability and national prosperity.
    The Security Service Law was applied to the Druze community as early as 1956, and the Druze youth have been enlisting in the military ever since. Our enlistment rate consistently hovers around a whopping 83% and is one of the highest in the country and most of us serve in combat units
    Since Mahmoud Kehir el-Din's and identity and heroic acts were made known to the public, many legislators suddenly remembered how bad this bill is.
    But for the Druze, who are regarded by the law as an annex to the state rather than an integral part of it, this is a lousy spin, opportunism and an even worse affront.
    It was you the politicians who roped Israeli society into these extreme views that reject the other and don't embrace other sectors and religions.
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    סגן אלוף מחמוד חיר א-דין
    סגן אלוף מחמוד חיר א-דין
    Lt. Col. Mahmoud Kehir el-Din (L)
    So you will be the ones to lead change for the community that has sacrificed its finest?
    Regardless of the Nation-State Law, the country must wake up and fast before it devours its own people.
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