The Jewish Voices Are Silent But Jewish Hearts Still Beat

As the new Nation-State law overwhelms very large segments of our population and not surprising disgust from other nations and from the large Jewish diaspora, the silence of Jewish readers has been very disappointing.

I have made myself a volunteer advocate for the cause of dignity of fellow Druze citizens. The reasons have been clearly explained in the three or four of my published articles in defense of the Druze and in protest to some of the discriminatory clauses in the Nation-State law.

Millions of readers in Israel and around the globe follow the daily news in the TIMES OF ISRAEL and are surely aware of the controversy of this redundant and un-needed law.

And yet only two readers, both from other countries, had responded with their comments. I am disappointed with the laxity of fellow Israelis who did not share their comments, positive or negative.

I have to believe that while Jewish voices are silent regarding the discrimination against the Druze primarily and other minorities, yet Jewish hearts still beat. It is called “nefesh Yehudi”, the Jewish soul.

I cannot find the answer to lack of interest in a serious national problem. My daughter calls it apathy. If it does not touch the Israeli pocketbook, the alarm bells do not ring.

I am very disappointed in the absence of large protest marches or rallies in support of the Druze. While tens of thousands of Israelis march or set up protest tents for causes which upset them, Israel is very sadly lacking in a display of support and affection for our loyal Druze.

150,000 people marched in support of the LGBT community and the protest against unequal surrogacy laws. No one has marched in support of our 150,000 Druze !

None of us can ever forget our national euphoria in 1967 when Jerusalem was re-captured from the Jordanians after 19 years in which Jews were prohibited from visiting and worshipping at our holy places while they were under Jordanian occupation.

We, as a nation, went wild with dancing and singing in all the streets of every city, town, village and kibbutz in our country. We rejoiced that we had lived to see the reunification of Zion and Jerusalem.

Should our beloved Druze population be denied the joy of seeing the discriminatory clauses removed from the law, thereby reassuring them that they are and always will be first-class citizens in the Zionist state? God forbid, they should never be treated as second-class citizens.

Has Bibi replaced Moses as our law-giver? Have the citizens of Israel have no say?

The Druze are among our most loyal and devoted citizens of the Jewish state. They have loved us since the 10th century which marks the beginning of their religious faith. They are the sons and daughters of Yitro, the Midianite prophet, who became the father-in-law of Moses when he took Zipporah for his wife.

I first met the Druze in 1956 when on the rear seat of a motorcycle driven by my best friend in Rishon Lezion. We travelled the length and breadth of Israel, a Bible in our backpacks to which we referred when passing through historical and holy places mentioned in the Bible.

One day we reached the mountains of northern Galilee and happened to arrive in the Druze village of Issufiyeh . A Druze wedding was taking place and we did not want to interfere or to disturb. While looking for a source of drinking water, a Druze elder approached us and welcomed us in Hebrew.

He invited us to be his guests at the wedding and to partake of the abundance of Druze delicacies. We were both very honored and we showed respect and gratitude to our host.

When we were departing the village, a group of Druze women approached us and handed us wrapped trays of assorted cakes and pastries to take with us as we continued our long journey.

As I mentioned, it happened in 1956, sixty-two years ago, and I have never forgotten the warmth and the hospitality given to two young Jews by the members of the Druze village. That memory remains forever embedded in my heart.

Since that time my respect, honor and love for the Druze has never diminished.

And it is therefore all the more painful to me to witness the pain which the new law enforces upon our Druze.

My pain is further increased by the lack of interest in the Druze cause by Israeli Jews.

Jewish voices may maintain their silence but I pray that Jewish hearts will beat for justice and equality.

I sincerely hope that the word “shalom” will be extended in use for its real meaning… Peace unto all.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.