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The Druze and the Zionists in the Arab-Israeli Conflict: An Inter-Ethnic Alliance

By Gunnhildur Eva Olafsdottir

Abstract

The Druze community is an Arab minority with populations inhabiting Israel/Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. They are distinct from other Arabs in the region due to their religion and culture, yet in Israel/Palestine, they participate in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) alongside Israelis. In 1956 the Druze Conscription Agreement was passed into law requiring all non-religious Druze males to participate in the IDF. However, the Druze fought alongside the Zionists long before 1956, and even before the establishment of the Israeli State in 1948. The Druze have a unique history in the region unlike the histories of other Arabs and the Zionists, and this unique history is an element that has had a major influence on the relations with the Zionists and other Arabs. The Druze are the only Arab minority in Israel/Palestine that are required to participate in the IDF. What is puzzling about this fact is that at first glance the Druze have far more in common with other Arabs than they do with Zionists in terms of their shared Arabic language and Arab ethnic origins. The goal of this thesis is to understand why the Druze have a generally good relationship with the Zionists and a bad relationship with other Arabs. In addition, this thesis will focus on the puzzle of why this Arab minority participates in the IDF by analyzing the Druze-Zionist/Israeli alliance that emerged before 1948 and has continued through the present

Year: 2015
OAI identifier: oai:triceratops.brynmawr.edu:10066/17806
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