Chief of Staff to Druze community: We are brothers in arms

In honor of the Druze holiday of Nabi Shu’aib, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz writes to the IDF (Zahal)’s Druze soldiers: “We will continue to strengthen our unique relationship”

Date: 24/04/2013, 3:22 PM     Author: IDF (Zahal) Website

Chief of the General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz addressed Israel’s Druze community today (April 24) in a special letter written in honor of the Druze holiday of Nabi Shu’aib. In the letter, the Chief of Staff praised the Druze community’s long-standing commitment to the State of Israel’s security.

“In the loyalty oath ceremony of the first Druze soldiers in the midst of the [1948] battle for liberation, the young fighters vowed the following: ‘As long as I assist as a volunteer in the liberation war of the people of Israel in its land, I vow and swear on my honor to take upon myself, without condition and without exception, the burden of discipline of the Israel Defense Forces.’ This oath, clear and dedicated, was an important milestone in the deep relationship between the IDF (Zahal) and the Druze community, which became over the years a courageous and productive relationship, to which we continue to bear witness today,” Lt. Gen. Gantz wrote.

The Chief of Staff referred to the long history of the relationship between the Jewish and Druze people saying that “for the entire 65 years of Israel’s independence – two nations have lived a shared life, with respect and mutual appreciation, in our hearts we all pray that this relationship will be a model for the nations of the region”.

Lt. Gen. Gantz wrote that the Druze community’s contribution to the struggle for Israel’s security is a source of great pride for both peoples, and that the deep friendships that develop between soldiers fighting shoulder to shoulder testify to that pride.

Remembering the fallen

The Chief of Staff offered a message of condolence to the bereaved families of the Druze community, and told them that the IDF (Zahal) stands by their side in times of joy and times of sadness alike. “Druze names are not missing from the long list of IDF (Zahal) fallen soldiers,” Lt. Gen. Gantz wrote. “Even today we hold in our hearts the memory of the fallen from the Druze community. The legacy of the heroism of our friends and comrades-in-arms will continue to guide us in the struggle against our enemies with the hope for days of peace in our land.”

Lt. Gen. Gantz concluded his letter with a message of hope that the future will bring the Jewish and Druze peoples even closer. “In honor of Nabi Shu’aib, on behalf of the entire IDF (Zahal), I wish you a happy holiday. May we continue to strengthen our connection and bring the unique relationship between our two peoples even closer.”