Friday, December 12, 2014

Israel's Druze are drawn into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Recently the Israeli Druze have gained the attention of national and international media. This has mainly two reasons: The tragic death of two members of the community in the recent terror attacks in Jerusalem and  Muslim-Druze violence in the Galilee village of Abu Snan

Jadan As'ad (who is related to former Knesset-member As'ad As'ad), a border policeman from the village of Bait Jann, was killed when a Palestinian driver slammed into a light rail station on November 5. The other, Zidan Saif a policofficer from the village of Yanuh, was killed while he tried to rescue the inmates of the synagogue in Har Hof during the terror attack on November 18. His funeral was that of a national hero with hundrets of Haredim and President Reuven Rivlin in attendence.

Additionally, in the mixed village of Abu Snan (one of the few with a Muslim majority and a Druze minority) clashes between Muslim and Druze youth occured, which led to wounding 41 people. The Druze side was using live ammunition, including a hand granade. 

Caught between two worlds, Israeli Druze struggle for equality amid rising tensions 
by Ben Hartman, Religion News Service
Two weeks ago, more than 40 people were injured in a brawl between the two communities, most of them by a grenade thrown into a group of Muslim rioters.
Abu Snan, which is about half Muslim and a third Druze (the remainder Christians), has seen rising tension between Muslim Arab citizens of Israel and their Druze neighbors — adherents of a monotheistic and secretive religion whose roots lie in Islam, but today forms a distinct faith. (...)
Locals in the village were reluctant to speak on the record or acknowledge that there was rising tension between the two communities. Local Council Head Nuhad Mishlav, a Druze, said relations were fine and the brawl was simply a personal dispute between two local men — one Druze and one Muslim — that spiraled out of control after one stabbed the other at a local cafÃ5/8. When asked about Druze-Muslim fights in the local high school, which have reportedly broken out for political reasons, he blamed Facebook and other social media, which he said students use to spread gossip and insults among their classmates.
“For generations we’ve had great relations with each other here, but this younger generation is violent,” he said. “There is real fear here and more so at night.”
The fear was palpable at the home of Bilal Taha, a Muslim man whose son Najib was badly wounded by shrapnel in his legs, groin and back after the grenade was thrown into the crowd of Muslims. Neither Bilal nor Najib admitted that there are frayed ties between Druze and Muslims. One of Bilal’s relatives was the Muslim man stabbed in the cafÃ5/8 fight that sparked the brawl and Bilal said he saw it as a personal dispute that spun out of control.
But he added that if police did not arrest the man who threw the grenade and if the Muslim man still hospitalized in critical condition dies, things would again become violent, possibly worse than before. (...)
Druze, Muslims clash over ties with Israel
Shlomi Eldar, Al Monitor

An explosion waiting to happen in Abu Snan
Yaron London, Y-Net

Analysis || Israeli Arab society is splintered, without any room for hope
Jack Khoury, Haaretz

Abu Snan Residents Demand Arrests Over Grenade Incident
Noa Shpigel, Haaretz

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