300 other Druze soldiers serve with Daniel in the IAF
“I’m treated just like everyone else” Professional Academic Officer Daniel is the first and only Druze in the Force who operates as an intelligence officer and has celebrated the most recent holy holiday of the Druze ethnic group: “Eid El-Adha—The Feast of Sacrifice. “It’s very important to me that soldiers serving with and around me are aware of my culture and background”
Shir Aharon Bram
Last week, thousands of Druze men and women around Israel celebrated “Eid El Edha”–The Feast of Sacrifice which is considered one of the holiest holidays of the Druze religion. Amongst the celebrators is Daniel, who operates as part of the Aerial Defense formation of the IAF: The first and only Druze serving in the IAF as an Intelligence officer.
“The Feast of Sacrifice is a holiday that lasts for four days”, he explains. “So they say that it symbolizes the independence of the Druze from the Islam, and some say it’s a Druze holiday of solidarity. In any case, this holiday has a very significant religious aspect since we celebrate the “Liali to Asor”–ten days–the holiest days of the Druze, in which most prayers are completed frequently and intensively beforehand”.
“When I meet officers out in the field, they are very surprised”
Professional Academic Officer Daniel was recruited for a particular academic course in the year of 2005, and was assigned to the IAF. He served in the research department of the Intelligence Formation and today is operating as an intelligence officer in the Aerial Defense Formation. “I often arrive at the field and meet officers and soldiers who only spoke with me on the phone”, he says with a smile. “Usually they are very surprised. Their first question is almost always ‘are you a Druze?’”
Maybe they shouldn’t be that surprised: The IDF recruitment percentages coming from the Druze ethnic group are very high, and as many as 300 Druze serve in the IAF. Actually, Daniel himself isn’t the first in the family to serve the IAF: His older brother was an ICT officer in a UAV squadron and was released as a Captain. “The fact that I’m Druze doesn’t affect me serving the IDF. People treat me like they would treat any other person, it’s very obvious”.
According to him, many people aren’t aware of the Druze ethnic group and many are intrigued to learn more.”People that I work with are always wondering about it which is why I decided to do something about it. I organize tours around the villages, seminars and lectures so that the soldiers of the IAF get to know my culture and backgrounds as well as I know theirs”.