In the wake of protests by Druze Israelis over the passage of the Nationality Law, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, himself a member of the community, said that many, if not most, members of the community support the government, and with it the Nationality Law. “For all those who don’t want Israel to be a Jewish state, they should realize that without Israel here that Islamic State would be in charge, and they would be slaughtering Druze wholesale, as is actually happening in southern Syria. If the Nationality Law promotes a Jewish state, then that is good, because a Jewish state means democracy – and without a Jewish state there is no democracy.”
Among the tenets of the law are that Israel is the “national home” of the Jewish people; that Israel is obligated to preserve Jewish culture and tradition; that the Jewish calendar be used whenever possible to conduct state business; that Jewish law be the “source of inspiration” for legislation by the Knesset and decisions by the courts; that Jews be given the opportunity to immigrate to Israel and receive citizenship; that Hebrew be recognized as the primary official language of the country; and that the state encourage Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel. Several members of the Druze community vehemently protested the law, while Kara has been vocal in his support for the law.”
Members of the Druze community had filed petitions with the High Court against the law. Among them were MK Akhram Hasson (Kulanu), who said that “we have no problem with Israel as a Jewish state, but what about us? What about those among us who sacrificed their lives for the state, what about the 420 Druze killed in wars and the thousands injured? The Nationality Law turns us into second-class citizens – actually seventh-class – and guarantees that we will be discriminated against in budgets, education, planning, and much more.”
On Motzoei Shabbos, tens of thousands of Druze gathered in Rabin Square to protest the law, even though a deal had been worked between leaders of the community and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Kara praised the Prime Minister for the plan, saying that the new measure, in the form of an amendment to the Law on National Service, “solves the problems that many claim are present in the Nationality Law by having the state officially recognize the contribution of members of the Druze and Cicassian communities who serve in the IDF and ensure that they are given rights and preferences, especially in housing,” he said. The petitions to the court were withdrawn.
Kara has been the most vocally supportive community member in favor of the law, but he is not the only one; also expressing support has been IDF Reserve General Imad Fares, who has spoken at rallies in favor of the law.