The Druze people are one of many ethnic and religious minority groups inIsrael. The Druze population in Israel is about 118,000 people, most of them live in one of 22 Druze villages, all of them in the north of Israel.
This small and most of the time unknown minority is a very special ethnic group and the biggest Israeli ally between all the Arabic speakers nations and even of the minorities in Israel.
The Druze religion is the smallest monotheistic religion and one of the smallest religions around the world. The population of the entire Druze nation is about 1.2 million people; most of them live in the Middle East, in Lebanon, Israel, Jordan and the biggest Middle Eastern Druze community lives in Syria. In addition to the Middle Eastern communities there are big Druze communities in South America, the United States and Canada. The most known Druze symbol is the symbol of the 5-color star, and every color symbolizes one of the Druze values, such as: peace, courage, love and knowledge.
The Druze people are known for their spiritual way of thought. All of the Druze people are followers of the Druze religion and all of them believe in reincarnation. The Druze religion is a secret religion and only the religious leaders (who are considered wiser) are able to learn about the Druze religion and read the holly books. The rest of the population is considered less wise and they are secular Druze. Despite the secrecy, there are a few religious traditions, which are reveled to the world, such as the prohibition to marry a non-Druze. Also, Druze people are not allowed to smoke and drink alcohol. The Druze house of worship called is “hilwah” and it’s very modest from outside and inside.
Men and women are equal in the eyes of the Druze. Druze men and women are both obligated to look and behave in a modest way. Since the foundation of this religion, the Druze women had the same religious positions as the men. The Druze women can be religious priests and can be leaders of Druze communities. One of the famous Druze women who became the head of the Druze community in Lebanon is Nazira Joumblat, the grandmother of Walid Joumblat, a Lebanese politician, who took the place of her husband after he died and lead the Lebanese Druze community for many years.
In Israel, there are many famous secular Druze men and women, such as the singers Mike Sharif and Asala Youssef, the actress Anat Hadid and the first Israeli Druze model – Angelina Fares. Another famous Druze woman is Jamila Kheir, who was born in 1940 in the village of Peki`in in northern Israel. Kheir, who is also known for her nickname “Savta Jamila” (grandma Jamila), is famous for her soap trademark – she makes healthy soaps from olive oil and special medical plants and her soaps are very successful in Israel and even in Europe. In 2006, Kheir was one of the 12 torch lighters at the ceremony of the Israeli Independence Day celebration.
The Druze people are known for their loyalty to the country they live in and they are not allowed by their religion to betray their homeland. The Druze population in Israel has been our biggest ally since the foundation of the state in 1948. The Druze helped Israel fight in the Independence War and since 1956 they serve in the IDF just like the Jews. Most of the Druze soldiers serve in combat units. The Herev unit was founded especially for Druze and Circassians, but today the unit includes only Druze. Another example for Druze in the Israeli military is Hasoun Hasoun, a Druze military officer from the village of Daliyat El Carmel who is now the security officer for the Israeli president, Mr. Shimon Peres.
The Druze people have a part in Israeli politics as well. There are many Druze members in Zionist political parties. Some of them are members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. One of these Knesset members is Majalli Wahabi, who holds the positions of deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and deputy speaker of the Knesset. Amal Nasr Al Din is a Druze politician and an author, who used to be a member of the Knesset. Nasr Al Din lost his son, Lutfi, in a terrorist attack and founded an organization in memory of the Druze soldiers who died during their military service.