Friday, November 21, 2014

A Druze Israeli says: We are one family - Naif Alian

by Naif Alian

We, the Druze, are part of the people of Israel. I have never felt a difference between me, my relatives and my friends and the Jewish people. We are one family, always have been and always will be.

Four months ago, after my son Rasan was wounded in battle in Shujaiyya, I stayed by his side at Soroka Medical Center, and I was amazed. At times, it seemed as if the whole country was there to visit and embrace him. Hundreds of people came -- government ministers, Knesset members, senior military officers, soldiers and even a little girl, who gave him a goodie bag with apples, nuts and candy inside. 

There is no question that we are in a difficult time right now. We should be able to walk freely around our capital city and stand at light rail stations without fear. Jews should be able to pray in synagogues safely. The feeling in the air is not good, and the state must do everything possible to quell this wave of terrorism. There is no forgiveness for acts of terrorism like the ones we have witnessed recently.

Here in Shfaram, we do not feel the tension. Life is going on as usual, quietly, and we are not changing our normal behavior. We will never let anyone change that. 

The blood pact between Druze and Jews in the land of Israel began in the 1930s, and it will never be broken. When Haganah forces arrived in Shfaram, my late father Hussein joined them. During the War of Independence, he and 30 other local Druze enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces and took part in the liberation of the Galilee. 

In the 1950s, my father was one of the five sheikhs who signed the agreement making military service compulsory for the Druze. In 1957, I lost my brother Salim during his military service. Today, I am the proud father of three IDF officers. They have never felt different from anyone else and have always walked with their heads held high -- as I taught them to do.

I was sorry to see the recent clashes between Druze and Israeli Arabs. This was not the first time this has happened, but I hope it will be the last. I have had many conversations with friends in Abu Snan, and I have told them to count to 10 before reacting to anything. 

And now, as we look ahead, we must be strong to defend our country and protect the lives of each and every one of us. I just ask that politicians in the Knesset stop squabbling among themselves and unite for the sake of our future.

Naif Alian


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