update deskIsrael at War

Israel’s coalition to advance bill giving Druze special status

Six soldiers from the community have been killed in action against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Druze Israelis hand out food to soldiers standing guard on a road near the border with Lebanon, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.
Druze Israelis hand out food to soldiers standing guard on a road near the border with Lebanon, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90.

Israel’s government coalition announced on Saturday evening that it will advance a Basic Law to give the Druze community special status.

The decision comes as six soldiers from the minority have been killed in action against Hamas terrorists in Gaza during the IDF’s “Operation Swords of Iron.”

Coalition chairman Ofir Katz and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen announced the legislation, saying that “in the coming days we will advance the draft law on the foundation of the Druze community, which aims to anchor the important position of the Druze community in the State of Israel.”

Katz said, “We’re setting the wheels in motion for the Druze community Basic Law [to pass] in the imminent future. The aim is to enshrine in law the crucial role of the Druze community in the State of Israel.”

The proposal will not amend the 2018 “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People,” which was seen by some as giving the Druze and other minorities second-class citizenship and was opposed by Druze leaders.

Druze are known for their fierce loyalty to Israel and high rates of military service, particularly in combat roles.

“I welcome this important initiative, which will do historical justice to the members of the Druze community in Israel,” Construction and Housing Minister Yitzchak Goldknopf said.

“There is a covenant of blood between the State of Israel and the Druze community and we have the responsibility and duty to do everything so that the citizens of Israel who are members of the community are equal in their status and rights,” the minister said.

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