Where are the voices?

The silence is “deafening.” Where are the voices… the voices of Israeli Jews… to cry out, to scream loudly in protest to the mal-treatment of the Druze communities, our most honored, beloved and loyal non-Jewish citizens ? They are Zionists in a Jewish state who have lived in total peace and harmony with Jews since the 10th century development of their religion. They are not Arabs and not Muslims. Their secret religion is a form of Unitarianism containing the best ideals of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and the Greek philosophy of Aristotle and Socrates.

Their tight knit communities in the north Galilean mountains have maintained their security over many generations. The Druze in Israel number approximately 150,000 people.

They have never raised a hand against a Jew. Their prophet Yitro, father-in-law of Moses, has bound them with the Jews throughout their history.

Some of the finest Druze young men have served as officers in the IDF and have distinguished themselves in combat. The majority of Druze males do mandatory military service side by side with their Jewish compatriots. Many Druze are better Zionists than many Jews.

Their dedication to the State of Israel, their fierce and constant loyalty, has made the Druze people one of the most honored and respected communities in our country.

Druze can be found in many spheres of our national life. Not only do they serve in the highest ranks of the military, there is a Druze Justice who sits on the bench of our Supreme Court, there are many dozens of Druze who serve as judges in our district courts. Druze are in our diplomatic corps serving overseas as Israeli consular officials or ambassadors. They can be found in several of our hospitals as skilled doctors and surgeons. There are many Druze members in our Knesset and the Deputy Speaker is a Druze.

They ask very little of us. All they want is our respect. And until now they have had 100% of it.

Until the tragedy of an unnecessary new Basic Law of the Jewish Nation-State succeeded in becoming the law of the land only a few short days ago.

Alarmed by the law’s content and fearful of becoming second-class citizens, the Druze have turned to the High Court of Justice petitioning for amending the discriminatory clauses in the new law.

Where are the voices of Israel’s Jews? Where are the voices of the commanders of our IDF under whom they have served valiantly? Who will speak for them? Who will defend their honor?

Because of the loud protests, mostly by the Druze themselves, our prime minister Netanyahu has agreed to a special meeting with Druze leaders but has made it clear a priori that he will not amend the new law.

What then is the purpose of a special meeting? Is it to tell the Druze leaders how much we respect and honor them but we can do nothing to change our law?

Where are the Jewish voices? In Europe when we were discriminated against there was no one to speak for us. In Israel we have the power to speak and to make demands of our political leaders. They are men and women who prefer to hold on to their seats and their power in the Knesset rather than to display Jewish humanity for a distinguished minority population.

Where are the voices? Where are the protest marches in front of the Knesset building, the Supreme Court and the Prime Minister’s residence?

If 150,000 Israelis could march throughout the country in support of equal rights for the LGBT community where the law allows surrogacy to lesbians but denies surrogacy to gay men who want to have children to love, as is normal in any married couple’s dreams, why are there not similar numbers to march in protest against the wounds being inflicted by our government upon the Druze communities?

How long must we remain silent? How long must we hold our tongues? How long until we can rise up as honorable citizens in protest of our government’s treatment of the Druze?

If we fail to force an amendment to the very controversial new law… the most controversial law in our 70 years of independence… then we should hang our heads in shame.

If we do not hear the voices raised in defense of the Druze, Ahmad Tibi was correct when he declared on the floor of the Knesset that democracy in Israel is dead.

Fellow Jews in Israel, where are your voices?

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.
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