Israeli Values Religious Voices

Letter 55 - Sheikh Nazem Sarhan

To the State of Israel and all its inhabitants,

Soon, God willing, we will be celebrating our 75th birthday. We will remember all the difficult years, but also all the good and happy years, since the establishment of our country, until today. 

I was born two years after the birth of the country, in a small Galilee village, to a simple but proud Druze family that believes in God and the destiny dictated by him. My family went through everything this country went through. Difficult days at the early years of a country that was built with the support of most  world leaders, after the horrors that the Jewish people went through during the Holocaust, which was a shock to humanity, which came after four hundred years of Ottoman rule, a regime that was characterized with suffering, poverty and illiteracy, and thirty years of British mandate which continued the same trend.

After the establishment of Israel, the suffering and the poverty were reduced over time, and life in our country was getting better and happier. All people, all inhabitants and all ethnic groups, worked hard in agriculture, industry, construction and by doing that they contributed to the advancement, prosperity and economic, social and military development of the country. Today we became an economic, social, scientific and military super power. Our country is a role model for all western countries, which are still amazed at all our great achievements, over such a short time. It is of course didn’t happen overnight, but with great effort, diligence and strong will, together with full cooperation between all people, each in their field, while maintaining universal values, such as: mutual respect, containing the other - the similar and the different, while keeping the commandments we received from our one and only God, the one we all believe in and work for, members of different faiths, each in its special path and its unique language. 

The Druze community, which I belong to, despite the small number of its members within Israel, is very proud and strong in its beliefs. We tied our destiny with the State of Israel and its inhabitants, and we preserve our loyalty and commitment. The Druze have contributed to this country and they continue to do so, in all areas of life, including serving in the army. Hundreds of Druze were lost in the wars of Israel due to our commitment to protect this country and to secure its inhabitants. By doing that, we continue the connection between our prophets: Prophet Shu'ayb (Yitro), may he rest in peace and Prophet Moses, may he rest in peace, that took the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, thousands of years ago. Prophet Shu’ayb was a great help for Moses and the People of Israel back then, and for that, he even received the honor of having a Torah portion named after him (parashat Yitro).

We, members of the Druze community, are keeping the commandments we received from Prophet Shu’ayb, the speaker of all prophets, which commanded us to guard the belief in one God, who created all humans, who are working towards peace and unity among all people and call us to act in the spirit of our commandments, such as: “Do good, because Allah (God) loves who follow his paths.” (From the Holy Koran, Surat Al Baqara (the cow), verse 195).

I urge you to join me, my sisters and brothers, and the leaders of our country, to treat one another with tolerance and empathy, to strengthen and consolidate the values of equality among all people and to preserve the human mosaic that God wanted to have here, in the land which is holy for all of us. I urge all of us to protect the values of democracy in order to be able to preserve all we have accomplished so far, and strive for a better future for all of us. Together, we will preserve our strong, happy, beloved country.


Sheikh Nazem Sarhan

Sheikh Nazem Sarhan lives in the village of Mrar. He is an educator, lawyer, justice of peace in the Druze court, and a member of the high religious Druze council. He is active in conflict resolution, reconciliation and peacemaking in the Galilee region. 

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