Total Pageviews

Friday, July 29, 2011

Israel's Best Arab Friends: The Druze

Nadene Goldfoot
Jethro was Moses's father in law and a wonderful advisor to him. Moses had married his daughter, Zipporah, who then had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer. Jethro was the Priest of Midian, the largest tribe out of Arabia who were not only nomads tending sheep but also were into commerical trading with their camel caravans.  

 Jethro had accepted Moses's monotheism and after helping him, returned to his own people to spread this belief causing the Druze religion to begin.  This Arab people  still believe in the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  They also believe in reincarnation.  It actually dates to the 11th Century.  Jethro's tomb is near Tiberias in a Druaze shrine open for all to come and visit.  They do not proselytize. 

Over 125,000 Druze live in Israel.  Their native language is Arabic but also speak Hebrew.  They are loyal to Israel and all serve in the Israeli army, being drafted like the Jewish soldiers.  Their reputation is that of the fiercest of fighters.  350 Druze soldiers have died in defense of Israel.  They have a higher percentage in the combat units and as officers than the Jews do.  Of Israel's population they are considered to be a very nationalistic and patriotic group.  5 Druze are members of the Knesset. 

The Druze came into Israel from Lebanon in the 16th Century.  Druze living in Israel are but a small 6-7%  of the over one million in the world.  Most live in Syria and Lebanon.  Less live in Jordan.  They are a closed society, not believing in allowing converts or marriage outside their faith.  Their heritage is quite pure at this rate.  They would make a most interesting group for geneticists to study.

No comments: