Dr Randall Geller, Framing the Druze Question: A Unique Minority in the Jewish State

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Date(s) - 10/04/2014
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm



In post-independence Israel the state’s political and military leadership viewed the non-Jewish population warily, identifying it as a potentially disloyal fifth column with religious, cultural, linguistic, and kinship links with Arabs in hostile neighbouring states.  In the absence of peace after 1948, and despite the promise of equality for all the state’s citizens as guaranteed by Israel’s Declaration of Independence, most Arabs were placed under Military Government rule and excluded from the army.  However, the Druze and Circassian minorities were the smallest of the state’s non-Jewish population groups and the least connected to Arab nationalism and Arab unity plans, and by partially incorporating them in to the Israeli polity state leaders could advertise the state’s inclusiveness, divide the minorities internally, and form links with their powerful co-religionists who held important positions in the governments and armies of neighbouring Arab states.   Thus Druze males were conscripted in 1956 and Circassian males in 1958; in this talk, I will define how this process took place, and why, since 1958, no other minority group has ever been subject to military conscription.