Druze delegation tours US to promote Israel
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Israeli Consulate in New York welcomed delegates from the Israeli Druze Alliance on Monday for a special meeting highlighting the integral role Druze citizens play in Israeli society.
Nearly 50 guests gathered at WJC’s Manhattan offices to meet with influential young members of the Israeli Druze community, who serve in leadership roles in the military, law enforcement and medicine.
On its tour of the US, the delegation visited Boston, Los Angeles and New York – to speak at schools, organizations, and with various media outlets to spread understanding and awareness of their community’s place in Israel’s multicultural society.
“There is a special bond between the Druze and Jewish communities of Israel,” Amir Sagie, the Israeli deputy consul general in New York, stated. “We owe this community a lot, as Israelis. We are here to help you.”
“As the Israeli Consulate, together with the American Jewish community, we can show how diverse Israel is, and the fact that minorities are not only equal, but take part in defending Israel.”
Dr. Amir Halabi, a first lieutenant in the IDF and member of the delegation, described the patriotism and freedom felt by the Druze citizens of Israel.
“Every one of us has a very strong connection to Israel,” Halabi said. “Each one of us has relatives who served in the IDF, or friends and family who died serving.”
“For us to defend Israel is not a question,” he added. “It is our only homeland.”
CEO of the WJC Robert Singer praised the Druze community for its contribution to the State of Israel, recalling his former roommate from officer’s training school, Col. Nevi Mari’i, who rose through the ranks of the IDF to become the deputy commander of the Gaza Brigade and was killed in action in Gaza in 1996.
“Nevi was a true patriot and proud citizen who gave his life to protect the State of Israel,” said Singer. “His selflessness and devotion is reflected time and again by generations of Druze Israelis.”