Minorities within a Minority

Hillel Cohen

in Good Arabs

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780520257672
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944886 | DOI:
Minorities within a Minority

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In opposition to the common wisdom and in partial contradiction to Israel's claim that the Druze asked to be conscripted, they were, to put it mildly, lukewarm about serving in the Israel Defense Forces. To overcome resistance within Israel and from outside it, the police arrested Druze who refused to enlist. The reason Israel persevered in its policy should first be sought in external politics. Mandatory military service for the Druze was and still is important for much more than their mere fighting power. A document produced by the Minorities Battalion states this explicitly: “The direct effect [of the minorities unit] has been to bring the Druze community closer and to tie it to us, impairing relations between the Druze and Muslims in this country and undermining trust in the Druze outside the country.” One important factor in some Druze leaders' consent to military conscription was their rivalry with other leaders for primacy among their coreligionists. A noted opponent of conscription was Sheikh Amin Tarif, acknowledged by most Israeli Druze as their senior religious authority.

Keywords: Israel; Druze; military conscription; Israel Defense Forces; Sheikh Amin Tarif; politics; military service; minorities; Muslims

Chapter.  15044 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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