Druze relations continue to sour

Sunday, December 02, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

The Jewish state's relationship with its traditionally loyal Druze minority continued to sour at the weekend when Druze and Jewish leaders held a tense meeting on the heels of yet another attack by Druze extremists on Israeli Jews in northern Israel.

Late Friday night, an unidentified group of Druze assailants torched the parked car of an immigrant Jewish couple living in the predominantly Druze village of Peki'in, reported Ma'ariv. A swastika was also spray-painted on a nearby wall.

Peki'in was the scene of clashes between Druze and Israeli police last month after local residents destroyed a cellular antenna and violently confronted a police force and came to arrest the perpetrators. As that conflagration intensified, Druze youth turned on the Jewish families living in the village and burned down several homes.

On Saturday, Israeli security officials, including members of the Olmert government, participated in a gathering with Druze leaders to try to calm the situation.

Several Druze leaders issued veiled threats of a Druze uprising, complaining that despite the fact their sect has been loyal to Israel since its inception, its members all too often still feel like second-class citizens.

Nearly all Druze males serve in the IDF, and many go on to have careers in the security forces. There are at least two Druze Zionist movements.

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