Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO
Netanyahu meets with Druze leaders
Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Netanyahu meets with Druze leaders over Nationality Law

Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Mowafak Tarif demands changes to Nationality Law to enshrine Druze's status into law, but the prime minister is instead examining alternative solutions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Mowafak Tarif at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem on Friday in an effort to mend the rift between the Druze community and the State of Israel surrounding the Nationality Law.



Other prominent figures from the Druze community were also at the meeting, including Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Asad, former Labor MK Shachiv Shnaan and Communications Minister Ayoob Kara (Likud).


The Prime Minister's Office said there was a good atmosphere and that Netanyahu listened to the representatives of the community, who for their part said they trusted Netanyahu's leadership.


 (Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)
(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)


Despite that, Tarif officially submitted to Netanyahu the Druze community's request to change the law in order to enshrine the status of the Druze community in Israel in a constitutional manner and grant equal rights to all citizens of the state in accordance with the Declaration of Independence.


The prime minister did not commit himself to changing the law, but said he’ll seek more advice on the matter. Sources close to Netanyahu said he still has no intention of making amendments to the Nationality Law, but rather to find solutions through additional legislations that would benefit the Druze community.


On Sunday, coalition party leaders will discuss the matter in an effort to formulate a plan to help resolve the real issues facing the Druze community in Israel.


Netanyahu has also promised to meet with heads of local Druze authorities early next week.


Ahead of his meeting with the Druze leaders, Netanyahu met with government ministers and MKs on Thursday to discuss the needs of the Druze community.


The prime minister met with Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Communications Minister Ayoob Kara, and MKs Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) and Akram Hasson (Kulanu) at the Kirya IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv, holding what was described as a cordial and positive discussions.


 (Photo: Haim Tzah, GPO)
(Photo: Haim Tzah, GPO)


No agreements have been made regarding changes to the Nationality Law, according to the Prime Minister's Office. Netanyahu and Minister Yariv Levin, who led the legislation process, don't think it's right to "open" the law at this time and make changes to it.


Instead, Netanyahu and the other officials discussed the possibility of adding to a law passed in May that sets a day in the State of Israel's official national calendar celebrating the Druze community and their contribution to the country.


Alternatively, the coalition could propose new legislation to establish the Druze community's status in the State of Israel.


In addition, the government will consider promoting legislation to give preference to Druze who serve or served in the IDF.


"Netanyahu is once again lying to the public. This is his how he operates— he supports the protest in order to bury it," accused Zionist Union MK Saleh Saed.


"I stopped believing the Prime Minister's Office's political spins, I will continue to protest against the Nationality Law with all my might, alongside bereaved families and the entire Druze community," he concluded.


The first petition to the High Court of Justice against the Nationality Law was submitted last week by the heads of the Druze community, followed by three Knesset members—including two from the coalition—who also filed a petition to the High Court on Sunday. The move was initiated by MKs Amar (Yisrael Beytenu), Hasson (Kulanu) and Saed (Zionist Union).


פרסום ראשון: 07.27.18, 16:45
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