PM to Submit Bill to Invest in Druze, Circassian Communities

November 30, 2014  

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, will submit, next month, for Cabinet approval, a plan for significant investment in the minority Druze and Circassian towns and communities. 

The plan will include funding for education, infrastructure, and employment in order to reduce the existing gaps between the minority communities and the rest of Israel, and move these communities forward. 

Netanyahu announced the plan Saturday night on his Facebook page, and on Sunday, an official announcement was sent out by his office. 

Last week, the Prime Minister met with Druze community leaders led by spiritual leader Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif. At that meeting, he informed them of his intentions to submit the bill for Cabinet approval soon. 

Offering condolences for the deaths of two security officers in recent terror attacks on Jewish Israelis, Netanyahu expressed solidarity with the Druze community.

Netanyahu also spoke with the leaders about the “Jewish State Law,” which many Druze, Channel 2 News, reported, view as an affront to their place in Israeli society.

The Prime Minister promised that the bill, whose Knesset plenum vote date has been delayed yet again, would not harm their status and would even entrench their equality in Israeli society. 

“You are our very flesh,” Netanyahu stated. “You are an organic part of Israeli society.”

“Your heroic policemen and soldiers have fallen in order to defend the state and all its citizens but we will defend your rights and your security. This is as important to us as defending the security of each and every citizen,” Netanyahu stressed.  

The “Jewish State Law” has been delayed as Netanyahu attempts to clarify and finalize his version of the law – the only version that will be presented when the plenum vote does does take place. 

His amendments to the law include making the Jewish elements of the law equal to – but not higher than – the “democratic” character of Israel. This version of the bill also emphasizes that “the State will allow anyone in Israel, regardless of religion, race, or nationality, to preserve their culture, heritage, and identity.”

Approximately 130,000 Druze live in the Carmel Range, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights throughout northern Israel.

There are also about 4,000 Israeli Circassians living in two villages in northern Israel. The Circassians are a sect of Sunni Muslims expelled by the Russians from the Caucasus Mountains in the late 1800s, who were settled in the Galilee by the Ottomans. 

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