24 November 2014

The Druze of Eretz Yisrael

2 Kislev 5775

A lot of attention has been focused on the Druze community in Eretz Yisrael this week since the Druze policeman was killed trying to save Jews in the Har Nof terrorist attack last week. For Jews who wish to follow the Torah with regard to relations with gentiles in Eretz Yisrael, it presents a question. How are we to relate to the Druzim of Eretz Yisrael who, unlike the Muslim Arabs, have proven to be loyal citizens of the nation?

While pondering this, I thought back to Yael who slew General Sisera when Devorah Haneviah judged Yisrael and who was married to Hever "the Kenite". I seemed to recall having read that the Kenites were descendants of Yitro. Knowing that Yitro is revered by the Druze, I began to investigate whether there might be a connection.

The following quotations are taken from The Jewish Virtual Library:
"The Kenites came from the south: Midian, Edom, and the Arabah. Hobab (*Jethro), son of Reuel the Midianite, who aided the Israelites in the desert and served as their pathfinder (Num. 10:29–32), was also known as the Kenite (Judg. 1:16; 4:11). ... The house of Rechab, which had preserved traditions of the time of the Exodus, was related to the Kenites....   In view of the kindness the Kenites had shown to Israel during the Exodus (I Sam. 15:6), Saul gave them friendly warning before attacking the Amalekites."
"The house of Rachab" being the only ones saved from the City of Yericho because they threw their lot in with the nation of Yisrael

There is no doubt that the Kenites were allowed to live in Eretz Yisrael and were treated well by the Jews in return for their loyalty. The question now is whether this example can be applied to the Druze community.

According to Wikipedia:

...The Druze revere the father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, whom some Muslims identify with Shuʻayb. According to the biblical narrative, Jethro joined and assisted the Israelites in the desert during the Exodus, accepted monotheism, but ultimately rejoined his own people. The tomb of Jethro near Tiberias is the most important religious site for the Druze community.
...In January 2004, the current spiritual leader, Sheikh Muwaffak Tarīf, called on all non-Jews in Israel to observe the Seven Noahide Laws as laid down in the Bible and expounded upon in Jewish tradition. The mayor of the Galilean city of Shefa-'Amr also signed the document.[17] The declaration includes the commitment to make a "...better humane world based on the Seven Noahide Commandments and the values they represent commanded by the Creator to all mankind through Moses on Mount Sinai."
It is well known that they have proven their loyalty to the nation by serving as soldiers, policemen and guards. Whether they are the descendants of the Kenites or simply following in their path, it would appear to me that they must be treated the same way that Yehoshua, Devorah and Shaul HaMelech treated those earlier gentiles who also followed the Noahide laws and who proved themselves loyal to the nation of Yisrael