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Two Druze Israeli Officers Have Resigned



On Tuesday, Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot responded to an unprecedented wave of protest by Druze commanders over the contentious law. He urged soldiers to leave controversial political matters out of the military.

On Sunday, Captain Amir Jamal, a Druze commander, posted an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his Facebook page. Jamal stated that he had decided to discontinue his service in the military. “This morning when I woke up to return to my base, I asked myself why? Why do I need to serve?”

“I do not want to continue and I am sure that hundreds more people will stop serving and will be discharged from the army following your decision, Netanyahu, that of you and your government,” Jamal’s posting included.

The second Druze officer announced a similar decision on Monday. Shady Zidan, 23, with the rank of deputy commander in a combat battalion, said he would be leaving the armed forces. “But today, for the first time in my service, I refused to salute the flag,” he wrote on Facebook.

Opposition to the apartheid bill has grown to include Arab and Druze minority groups as well as the Christian community in the occupied territories.

The Catholic Church in the occupied city of Jerusalem al-Quds has also condemned the law.

Last week, Druze leaders, including three Knesset members, filed a petition with the Israeli High Court of Justice against the legislation, calling it an “extreme” act.

The law had drawn criticism by a wide range of NGOs and rights groups as a racist bill that would divide the society. Arabs in the occupied territories form about 20 percent of the population.

The bill would “remove the mask so as to reveal the ugly face of ultranationalist Israel in all its repugnance,” Mordechai Kremnitzer, from the faculty of law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in Haaretz newspaper last week.