A few weeks ago I sent a letter to Rafik Halaby, the distinguished mayor of the Druze city of Daliyat-al-Karmel. In it, I offered to give one month of service as a volunteer to teach conversational English in one of the city’s high schools. It is my personal way of showing and expressing gratitude for the Druze loving relationship with the Jews in Israel.
As of this date, I have not received a reply but I am anxiously waiting to hear from Rafik. My intention is to begin volunteer service shortly after the end of the Sukkot holidays in October.
I would plan to take the train from my hometown to Tel-Aviv and from there to connect with a train to Haifa. From Haifa, I don’t know if there is bus service to Daliyat-al-Karmel. If not, I’ll take a taxi. The Druze village in Galilee is not far from the center of Haifa.
My textbook will be the daily edition of the English-language newspaper, The Jerusalem Post.
Reading aloud from its news and featured articles, students will be required to explain in English conversation what they have read and must share their personal comments of it. In this easy manner, students can freely choose an article of preference and begin their explanation in fluent English.
Additionally, each student must recite a personal biography with news about their lives, families and friends, hobbies and hopes for their future.
I have followed this practice for several years teaching English as a second language with success.
I have no doubt that many, if not most, of the Druze students have already studied English in their classes but I suspect that most of it dealt with grammar, reading and some writing. Usually, conversational language is secondary.
Giving one month in October as a volunteer will also bring me closer to the Druze community which I have loved and respected since I first met many of them in Issufiyeh in the late 1950’s. Their warmth, friendship and hospitality enchanted me and I have never forgotten the kindness they showed me.
For me as an individual Jewish Israeli citizen, it will be a great honor to contribute to the Druze youth.
I am, at the same time, grateful to the Circassian community which has also given strong loyalty to our State and has provided their young men to serve in our military forces in defense of their country.
Unfortunately, never having met a Circassian, I do not know where their villages are located. I would be pleased to help their community as I help the Druze.
The Nation-State law is a thorn in their sides and is a law that many Jewish Israelis dislike, due to some of the discriminatory clauses and the fear of reducing our minorities to second-class citizens, God forbid.
That fear upsets me as well, yet I feel certain that it is not and never has been the intention of our government to reduce the equal status of the Druze and Circassian communities from the status of the Jews. We are brothers. We are one great loving family. And no law can ever separate or divide us.
It is a pity that no action can be taken on the new law until after the Knesset returns in October from their deserved vacations.
Patience is considered a virtue. But it is one of the many virtues I am lacking. I like my instant coffee without waiting for a boiled steaming cup.
But I am trying very hard to overcome my impatience in the hope that I will very soon receive a positive reply from the honorable mayor, Rafik Halaby.
His acceptance of my offer will be as a blessing from heaven. All good things to the beloved Druze.