Remembering the Druze, Muslims, and Christians Who Gave Their Lives for the Jewish State

Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s memorial day for fallen soldiers, began yesterday evening, and tonight gives way to Independence Day. Among those mourned are numerous members of non-Jewish groups. Hillel Kuttler writes:

Israel’s Defense Ministry counts 24,213 people as military fatalities (including those serving as police officers and prison guards) and victims of terrorist attacks, dating to before the state’s founding 75 years ago. My interviews this month with representatives of several minority groups reveal that the number includes 427 Druze, 221 Bedouins, 27 Christians, and approximately ten Circassians.

In a country replete with memorials to people killed protecting Israel, those communities’ losses are highlighted to varied degrees. The Druze complex in the Carmel mountains near Haifa, which includes a pre-army training center and an amphitheater on whose stage stands a memorial wall with the engraved names, is state-sponsored. So is a facility in the Jezreel Valley honoring the Bedouins; both sites host Yom Hazikaron ceremonies. The Circassian Heritage Center, in the village of Kfar Kamma, west of Tiberias, is privately funded. Jawdat Salameh, a Catholic, said he hopes to establish a memorial in the Galilee commemorating fallen Christian Israelis.

Since the combat death of his son in 1969, the ninety-five-year-old Druze leader Amal Nasser el-Din has been organizing efforts to memorialize these heroic Israelis. A former Knesset member, el-Din is scheduled to receive the Israel Prize, the country’s highest civilian honor, tomorrow. El-Din’s grandson was killed fighting in Gaza in 2008:

At the family’s mourning tent in 2008, someone asked Nasser el-Din whether he felt angry at Israel for the losses in action of his son and grandson. (Another son, Saleh, who likewise served in the Israel Defense Forces, was abducted as a civilian in 1995 by Hamas terrorists. He was never heard from again and is presumed dead.)

“To attain a strong, independent state, you must sacrifice,” el-Din [responded]. “And if I have to, I’ll sacrifice another son.”

Read more at Tablet

More about: Bedouin, Circassians, Druze, IDF, Israeli Christians, Israeli society, Yom Ha-Zikaron

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas