Photo Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld, IDF Spokesperson Unit
IDF Druze soldiers from the Herev Battalion

{Originally posted to the JNS website}

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to resolve the crisis with the Druze community as quickly as possible and place the debate over the nation-state law in its natural frame: between left and right. This is where he planned on waging the argument when he decided to revive the law as part of a push to win over the right-wing base.

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The Druze uproar against the law has thrown a considerable wrench in Netanyahu’s political plans. To be sure, not only does the prime minister not care if opposition to the law dominates the focus of the news studios and newspapers, he essentially desires it. The louder the outcry from Tzipi Livni, Tamar Zandberg and Jamal Zahalka against the law, the greater the trickle of mandates from Habayit Hayehudi and other right-wing parties to back Likud.

While the south continues to burn and illegal African migrants continue to suffocate daily life in south Tel Aviv, Netanyahu continues to wrest control over the public agenda and take it where he wants.

The Druze community’s livid response, however, has somewhat disrupted the blueprint. Within the framework of common right-wing discourse, the Druze community is out of bounds. Everybody loves the Druze. They are loyal. They serve in the Israel Defense Forces. The left has also come to understand this and is now focusing solely on the community’s issues, while completely neglecting Arab Israelis and the country’s other minority groups.

When Tzipi Livni met with Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, she told him the nation-state law should be changed because it harms the Druze, but it also harms other minority groups. They only focused on the first part. Everyone cares about Druze rights, but leftists think they alone care for Arab rights.

Putting the crisis with the Druze community to rest would be a resounding victory for Netanyahu, as it would essentially force his rivals to stand down. In this scenario, the detractors of the nation-state laws—among them a group of former generals and police chiefs—can keep giving interviews daily and nightly and serving as the perfect accessories for his political moves.

Unless, of course, they can find another consensus group that opposes the law, like the Druze, and start everything over again.

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