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

The IDF has suspended a Druze deputy platoon commander who publicly protested on Facebook against Israel’s new Nationality Law, announcing his plans to resign his post over the measure.

IDF Captain Shadi Zidan, 23, received a 14-day suspension after he posted his intentions, just a day after Druze officer Amir Jamall, also age 23, of the village of Yirka announced his own plans to leave the military as a protest against the new law, urging other Druze in the military to join him.

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“I served all over the country, there’s no place I haven’t been . . . To this day I’ve given the State my soul, risked my life, I haven’t seen home and what not … I’ve stood up for the country’s flag with pride and salute it, I sang Hatikvah because I was sure that was my country and I’m equal to everyone.

“But today for the first time in my service I refused to salute the flag, I refused for the first time to sing the national anthem,” Zidan wrote in his post.

“I am not a political person, but I’m a citizen like everyone else and give all my strength to the State, and in the end I’m a second-class citizen?

“No, thank you, I’m not willing to be part of this, and yes, I join this struggle and I decided to stop serving this country, thank you, State of Israel.”

The Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People sets forth Hebrew as the sole official language of the State and underlines a special status for Arabic; the law also declares — as did the founders of the State — that Israel “will be open for Jewish immigration and the ingathering of Jewish exiles”; and declares the State views the development of Jewish settlements as a national value and shall act to encourage and promote the establishment and consolidation of such settlements. All of which are basic national values that don’t for a moment detract from the identity, value or rights of any other citizen of Israel.

Nevertheless, somehow the minority populations in Israel have been led to believe their rights have been or will be abrogated by the passage of this basic law, one that is found in every democratic nation in the world.

It’s unclear why the Druze, whose tradition speaks to national loyalty, suddenly are so threatened by a law which simply enshrines the principles under which the Jewish State was established in the first place. Israel’s top echelon is doing everything possible to address their fears; one hopes the community will see the threat for what it really is — an effort by those who profit when Israel is weakened by conflict from within.

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