The Israel Navy Commander recently invited important members of the Druze religious community to visit a major Israel Navy base. The visit aimed to strengthen ties between the Druze and greater Israeli communities.
This week, Commander of the Israel Navy Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg invited Druze dignitaries to visit the IDF (Zahal)’s naval base in Haifa. The Druze delegation, led by its spiritual leader Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, visited the base to strengthen empower community building between the Israel Navy and the Druze community.
Israel’s Druze population is known for its special commitment to the IDF (Zahal). Today, 85 percent of Israel’s male Druze population chooses to join the Israeli military. About 130 Druze sailors currently serve in the Navy, and many of them plan to continue their service far beyond their scheduled release dates.
The recent visit began with a blessing from the commander of the navy, followed by a presentation by the Haifa naval base commander. The presentation addressed major security challenges and included a briefing about the navy’s integral role during Operation Protective Edge.
After finishing their meeting in Haifa’s naval base, the Druze dignitaries set sail on the INS Hanit (Spear). They received a detailed briefing from Missile Boat Squadron Commander Col. Eyal Harel, who explained the significant contributions of Druze soldiers to the navy.
The Navy’s “Druze Commander”
Many sailors refer to Major Tamir Awad, a senior Druze officer, as the “commander of the Druze in the Navy.” He earned his nickname after several years of dedicated service, and his story exemplifies the integration of Druze soldiers into the military. During their recent visit, Druze dignitaries recognized Maj. Awad with a special award for his military service.
After becoming the Navy’s first Druze officer, Maj. Awad remained committed to building its Druze community. He insists that members of the Druze community must defend their home. “It is our obligation to serve and protect the state of Israel,” he said shortly after the ceremony. His dedication to his community, the navy and the IDF (Zahal) serves as an inspiration for other sailors.
Maj. Tamir Awad receives special recognition from Druze dignitaries
At the end of the special visit, Israel Navy Commander Vice Admiral Ram Rothberg expressed special gratitude to Sheikh Moafaq Tarif and the other Druze dignitaries. “The biggest strength of the Navy is the people,” he said. “This event is an opportunity to salute and recognize our relationship, and to appreciate the partnership that has been built.”