Photo Credit: Ayal Margolin/Flash90
Druze protest against the construction of a new wind farm in the Golan Heights, June 21, 2023.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night spoke with Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze in Israel, and reassured him that he had decided to comply with his request and refrain from resuming work on the Golan Heights wind turbines project until after the Feast of the Sacrifice (June 27 through July 1). The prime minister’s decision was made based on the recommendation of the head of the Shin Bet and the police commissioner.

Last week, thousands of Druze protesters clashed on Wednesday with police in the northern Golan Heights over the Druze opposition to the construction of wind turbines there. The estimated cost of the project is $400 million, much of which has already been invested in building the infrastructure for the enormous turbines.


According to police, an officer opened fire after a group of masked men with stones approached him. One protester who approached the same officer wielding a sharp object was slightly wounded by a shot to his leg. Five protesters were arrested. Later reports indicate two seriously-injured protesters (2 Seriously Injured in Clashes between Thousands of Rioting Golan Druze and Police Over Wind Turbines).

Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif. / Gili Yaari /Flash90

On Friday, Sheikh Tarif announced that the state must stop promoting wind turbine construction, otherwise, there would be consequences. At an emergency meeting in Kafr Yasif, near Acco, Triff called on the government to stop the work in the Golan, approve the expansion of Druze villages, and repeal the Kaminitz Law and the Nationality Law, which he said discriminate against the Druze community.

The Druze continued to protest in droves across the Golan and Galilea, and the target of their protest was National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who last week told Tarif that, with all due respect, the law must be upheld and the turbines project must continue.

The head of the Kisra-Sumei in western Galilee, Yaser Gadban, who spoke after Sheikh Tarif, sounded a great deal more militant. He said Netanyahu “sent Ben Gvir to declare war on the Druze community. We are ready for war.”

“Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif, his honor is up to the heavens. Bibi Netanyahu did not respect the status of the spiritual leader. Who is Bibi Netanyahu? We will teach him who the Druze community is.”

The Sheikh later said: “We are an independent community, with an independent opinion. We do not receive advice or instructions from anyone. We have never been afraid of anyone except the Almighty, the Eternal God. Not from Itamar Ben Gvir and not from anyone else.”

The Friday meeting was attended by thousands of Druze from the Galilee, the Carmel, and the Golan. The participants waved the flag of the Druze community, and shots were fired in the air. During the speeches, the assembled chanted against Minister Ben Gvir: “Ben Gvir ya hakir (despicable),” as well as “With spirit and blood we will redeem the Golan.”

That last one is disturbing, betraying a dispute between the Druze community and Israeli law, which views the Golan Heights as part of Israel. The Golan Druze believe it is Syrian, and should be returned. Now it appears that Israeli Druze feel the same way.

On Saturday, at the IDF Michve Allon training base in Galilee, dozens of Druze soldiers protested, cried, waved the community’s flags near the entry guard’s post, and asked to leave the base. They blamed their hurt feelings on the insult to the Druze public and its “continuous discrimination.”

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