Liberal Reform in the Druze Community in Israel
On July 19th we had a fascinating event with our friends from the Liberal Druze Association and the Forum for Liberal Thinking. While religious conservatism is on the rise all over the world, it seems that the Druze community in Israel is not an exception in this respect. Religious restrictions are having a comeback and those mostly affected are the women. Among newly released religious instructions by the Druze religious leadership is that women should not drive a car. Those women not following these instructions have to confront harsh reactions and partly exclusions from religious ceremonies.
The Association of Druze Liberals has raised “religious coercion” as a continuous topic of its regular seminars and recently came up with a very practical suggestion, how to counter these developments, which are fostered by the religious council of the Druze. They suggest establishing a Druze Council parallel to the religious council, which will deal with secular issues with respect to the Druze community and will represent the non-fundamental segment of the Druze community. The council will deal with matters of women equality, youth empowerment, local government and family matters and will have subcommittees for each of these topics.
The liberal Druze Association aims to register the new secular Druze council with the Ministry of Interior and gain support from the state for its activities in favor of the Druze community. Our meeting last week discussed the structure of such a new council and the different procedures needed in order to bring such a body into life.