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Author Topic: Druze  (Read 1498 times)
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« on: May 05, 2007, 03:10:42 am »

Genetic testing

According to DNA testing, Druze are remarkable for their high frequency (35%) of males who carry the Y-chromosomal haplogroup L, which is very rare in the Mideast. (Shen et al 2004) [1]. This haplogroup originates from around prehistoric India.

The Druze today

In Lebanon, Syria and Israel, the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community with its own religious court system. Their symbol is an array of five colors: green, red, yellow, blue and white. Each color pertains to a symbol defining its principles: green for ˤAql "the Universal Mind", red for Rūħ "the Universal Soul", yellow for Kalima "the Truth/Word", blue for Sabq "the Antagonist/Cause" and white for Talī "the Protagonist/Effect". These principles are why the number five has special considerations among the religious community; it is usually represented symbolically as a five-pointed star.

In Israel

Daliyat Al-Karmel, Israeli Memorial to 355 Druze killed while fighting for Israel

In Israel, Druze usually identify themselves as Arabs (but not as Palestinians).[5] In 1996, Azzam Azzam, a Druze Israeli businessman, was accused by Egypt of spying for Israel and was imprisoned for eight years. The Israeli government denied this accusation.

However, many Druze living in the Golan Heights consider themselves Syrian and refuse Israeli citizenship, while the remainder consider themselves Israeli. In general elections, the majority of Druze villages have similar voting patterns as the general public.

Israeli Druze also serve in the Israeli army, voluntarily since 1948, and—at the community's request[citation needed]—compulsorily since 1956. Their privileges and responsibilities are the same as those of Israeli Jews; thus, all Druze are drafted, but exemptions are given for religious students and for various other reasons. Most recently in the 2006 Lebanon War, the all-Druze Herev [sword] Battalion, through their knowledge of the Lebanese terrain, suffered no casualties and are reported to have killed 20 Hezbollah fighters, triggering suggestions that the battalion will be transformed into an elite unit[6].

In January 2004, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, Shaykh Mowafak Tarif, signed a declaration calling 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 Shfaram also signed the document.[citation needed] 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."[citation needed]

Support for the spread of the Seven Noahide Commandments by the Druze leaders reflects the biblical narrative itself. The Druze community reveres the non-Jewish father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, whom Muslims call Shuˤayb. According to the biblical narrative, Jethro joined and assisted the Jewish people in the desert during the Exodus, accepted monotheism, but ultimately rejoined his own people. In fact, the tomb of Jethro near Tiberias is the most important religious site for the Druze community.[7] It has been claimed that the Druze are actually descendents of Jethro.
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