Thousands Attend Funeral of Druze Leader, Despite Coronavirus Restrictions

An IDF watchtower is seen above the Druze village of Majdal Shams and the Israeli -Syrian border, in the Golan Heights.
(Lior Mizrahi/Flash90)

Thousands of people attended the funeral of a prominent Druze Sheikh on Saturday in defiance of the coronavirus restrictions after forcefully seizing the body of the late community leader from the Ziv Medical Center in Tzfas.

A massive mob of members of the Druze community stormed the morgue at the hospital on Friday night to retrieve the body of the Sheikh who had died shortly before of coronavirus.

The mob is seen on security camera footage storming the entrance to the hospital. Two security guards attempt to block them but to no avail. Police inside the hospital building did nothing.

The funeral of Sheikh Abu Zain Al-Din Hassan Halabi took place in the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams, currently locked up due to a high rate of coronavirus infections in the area.

Footage purported to be taken of the funeral showed many of the participants following social distancing guidelines with chairs set far apart.

A commission was appointed to investigate the incident and evaluate the conduct of police officers stationed at the funeral.

The commission will also have to recommend how the police should act in the future to properly enforce restrictive measures when a personality or religious leader dies, Channel 12 reported.

For now, Sheikh Muafak Tarif made it clear that neither the leaders of the Druze community nor the family of the deceased was linked to the break-in at the hospital.

“The incident that occurred at the Ziv medical center in Tzfas is not linked to a decision by the leaders of the community or the family of the deceased,” said Sheikh Muafak Tarif, as quoted by the Kan public broadcaster.

“The funeral took place in coordination with the police, the army’s home front command, and the municipality of Majdal Shams,” he said.

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