June 26, 2015

Druze In The News

I have heard of the Druze. To be honest, I never gave much thought about them until now. The Druze are a minor ingredient in the seething stew-pot that is the Near East. Apparently a bunch of them ambushed an Israeli ambulance carrying several wounded men and beat one of them to death.
Earlier this week, on the Golan Heights, an enraged mob assaulted an ambulance and attacked two wounded men inside with rocks, clubs, and chains, killing one and seriously wounding another.

The ambulance was Israeli. The wounded men were Arab fighters from Syria. The assailants were also Arabs, though they were Druze rather than Muslims.
Rocks, clubs and chains. Sounds like a Baltimore prayer meeting.

But who in the wide, wide world of pain (I'll take primitive assault weapons for $400, Alex)  are the Druze? Wikipedia says this:
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.[
That doesn't tell us much.
The Druze ... are an esoteric monotheistic religious community found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan. The religion incorporates elements of Ismailism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism and other philosophies. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid "People of Unitarianism or Monotheism" or al-Muwaḥḥidūn "Unitarians, Monotheists." Sheikh Amin Tarif was the preeminent religious leader of the community until his death in 1993.
That .....  really doesn't help much either. No matter, whatever they believe, the Druze are very active in the Israeli military and in politics. One of them served as the acting President of Israel in 2007 and the Druze play major roles in the IDF.

As there are about 130,000 Druze scattered throughout Israel, the Golan Heights, Lebanon and Jordan, they find themselves on different sides of the current conflict.

A Druze gotta do what a Druze gotta do.

They make political alliances with whomever is in power, this is how they survive. The Syrian Druze allied themselves with the Assad regime, the Jordan Druze with the King and the Israeli Druze with the Israeli government. So the Druze find themselves at odds even with their own brethren. This happens when you are are a very small minority in a region that is not well known for tolerating people with different beliefs ... except in Israel. The Druze have done very well in Abraham's Keep.

But why did Israeli Druze attack an Israeli ambulance?
So when an Israeli ambulance drove down the street carrying wounded fighters from the Free Syrian Army, some of the local Druze fingered those people as enemies. They are a potential threat to the continued existence of their Druze brethren on the other side of the border since a victory by the Free Syrian Army would lead to the downfall of Assad and the possible enthronement of Al Qaeda or ISIS, whom the Druze couldn’t curry favor with even if they wanted to without abandoning their religion and converted to Islam at gunpoint.

So some of them decided to attack the ambulance and take a perceived enemy or two off the board even as the Israelis were trying to save them.
In the politico-religious mess that is boiling in that region, I guess it makes as much sense as anything else. Unfortunately this happened in Israel.


Doom said...

Most churches, and religions actually, make contracts with governments. Mostly just an agreement in which adherents are allowed to worship without punishment. This has been used against the Catholic church, because it had an agreement with Hitler. But then, it has an agreement with all nations, if those nations will do so and they are legally recognized (if pushing it by trying to recognize a Palestinian state which doesn't' exist, but two black popes in a row and you get what you get on some things).

I'm not sure about the Druze, more than you. I haven't seen the tenants they live by or such. But, as for doing what they did? Good call. Essentially it would be taking out an ambulance carrying ISIS members through Brooklyn. Ones who were fighting the legal state of New Jersey, and slaughtering all of differing religions in that war to boot. Even Buddhists are going after muslims. A recent leader, a monk, fighting for survival of his people, simply stated that you can't sleep beside a rabid dog... among other things.

Not sure that will help, but I certainly understand. Rabid dogs cannot be worked with or medicated. For some of them, there is only one thing to do with them.

sig94 said...

Doom - the closest scenario I can think of is when the Nazis were on the ropes and thousands upon thousands of German soldiers were surrendering. The Wehrmacht solders were like our GI's, conscripts, and were not treated badly. The SS however, that was a different story. There are stories of British soldiers going through formations of Germans and dragging away the SS, never to be seen again. My FIL saw many SS hanging from trees.