Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Forever Faithful?

Avi Friedman

Druze Israelis have bravely served in Israel’s military and police force for decades, and the death of Officer Zidan Saif in Har Nof in November only highlighted their dedication. But while Druze remain loyal to the state, perceived discrimination is becoming an acute source of frustration and hurt.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Druze Israelis say they have never experienced an outpouring of support like the one they felt following the murder of Sergeant Major Zidan Saif, the brave Druze Israeli policeman who was gunned down inHarNofin November.Most Druze had never met chareidim, and few chareidim had visited Daliat el-Carmel, the picturesque Druze capital of Israel and the community’s thriving tourist hub.That all changed with the murder of Saif, who paid with his life to intercede on behalf of the tallis-wrapped men at Kehillas Bnei Torah on November 18. Once it became clear that a Druze officer was among those killed on that dreadful morning, community leaders in HarNofmade contact with their counterparts in the Druze community to offer condolences. At Saif’s funeral the following day, about 100 HarNofresidents paid their respects and Rabbi MordechaiRubin, the rav of Bnei Torah, eulogized the fallen policeman.“Zidan showed courage,” the rabbi said before a crowd of thousands. “He was the first at the battle. He stood like a wall, with his body, with his head, in order to save the souls of those in the synagogue. The loss of Zidan is our loss as well as that of the Druze community and we feel, especially at times like this, a kinship with the Druze community. The devotion and the determination of Zidan should be an example to us all — to the Druze and to the Jews.”A month after the massacre, Druze leaders say that if there was any point of light to emerge from the killing spree, it was the possibility of a new relationship between the Druze and chareidi communities. Following the massacre, one chareidi askan,MordechaiTzivin, pledged NIS 20,000 toRinalSaif, Zidan’s 23-year-old widow. Locals in Daliat el-Carmel say theHarNof community has raised thousands more for Saif.“Up to now, the chareidim have been little more to us than a religious group with distinctive clothes, but we didn’t know very much about them”SamihHalabi, a retired IDF career officer and community activist in Daliat el-Carmel, said. “SinceHarNof, we have discovered that there is a lot of common ground between our communities: tradition, modesty, conservatism. We have similar approaches to women’s honor and respect, but we don’t know one another because we have always moved in separate circles. Now we have learned about the tremendous depth of chareidim to be generous, caring, and thankful as well.” 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

The Fortunes of War
Rabbi Moshe Grylak We’re still feeling the fallout of the First World War
Some Lessons, But Few Portents
Yonoson Rosenblum What the midterms tell us about 2020
Vote of Confidence
Eyan Kobre Why I tuned in to the liberal radio station
5 out of 10
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin Top 5 Moments of the Kinus
Day in the Life
Rachel Bachrach Chaim White of KC Kosher Co-op
When Less is More
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman How a good edit enhances a manuscript
It’s My Job
Jacob L. Freedman “Will you force me to take meds?”
They’re Still Playing My Song?
Riki Goldstein Yitzy Bald’s Yerav Na
Yisroel Werdyger Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein Ahrele Samet’s Loi Luni
Double Chords of Hope
Riki Goldstein You never know how far your music can go
Will Dedi Have the Last Laugh?
Dovid N. Golding Dedi and Ding go way back
Battle of the Budge
Faigy Peritzman Using stubbornness to grow in ruchniyus
The Challenging Child
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Strategies for raising the difficult child
Bucking the Trend
Sara Eisemann If I skip sem, will I get a good shidduch?
The Musician: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer "If she can't read she'll be handicapped for life!"