Honors Theses

Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Vivian Ibrahim

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

Druze scholar Rabah Halabi describes the Druze standing in Israel as neither here nor there. This thesis asks the question: How do the Druze fit into a society created to house and defend the Jewish people? To answer this question, Druze identity is examined from the Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli perspectives regarding the Druze community based on their service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) through a case study of media reactions to the July 2017 fatal shooting of two on-duty Druze policemen by three Arab-Israeli shooters at Islamic holy site al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City in Jerusalem. Three preliminary questions are explored to preface the case study: Who are the Israeli Druze? What is the IDF? and What is the Druze role in the IDF? Analysis of Jewish-Israeli media and Arab-Israeli media of reactions to the fatal shooting confirms Halabi's conclusion, reflecting the indifference both sides feel toward the Druze community. Because Arabs living inside the borders of Israel sympathize so closely with Palestinians, Arab-Israelis feel a similar sense of detachment from the Druze, even though they are all Arabs, a link that was forcefully removed from memory through Israel's divide-and-rule policy. The Israelis succeeded in their attempt to break the non-Jewish minority into even smaller groups. They further succeeded by turning those minorities against one another and ensured that relations between the Arab-Israeli and Druze minorities were so hostile that the two groups never would unite to fight against the Jews and the State of Israel. Arab-Israeli media articles' use of the word martyr to describe only the three Arab-Israeli shooters and not the fallen Druze policemen demonstrates Arab-Israelis' sentiments toward the the Druze population. The Arab-Israeli shooters were martyrs because they were defending their Arab brethren from the tyranny of Israel. The Druze are not because, like the Jews, they are the enemy. Stuck in the middle of the larger Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Druze are neither here nor there in Israeli society.

Comments

A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.

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