ADL Praises Israel's Chief Rabbi For His Statement In Support Of Druze Community
Jerusalem, August 13, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern at the remarks of an Israeli rabbi who claimed in an Internet discussion that, according to his interpretation of Jewish religious law, members of Israel's minority Arab Druze community should not be allowed to serve in the Israel Defense Forces.
The remarks by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, a Jerusalem-based religious scholar, were swiftly repudiated by Israel's chief rabbinate, which has long worked to promote positive relations between the Jewish and Druze communities in Israel.
ADL's Israel Office issued the following statement:
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's remarks about the supposed inability of the Israeli Druze to serve in the military were unfortunate and inappropriate. They are not consistent with the values of the state of Israel, which has long emphasized the rights of its minority groups to serve honorably in the military and to participate fully as citizens in a democracy.
We welcome the statement by Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, who has made it unequivocally clear that the Druze community have every right as citizens of Israel to participate fully in society, including through military service, and that members of the Druze should be proud of their contributions in helping to protect and defend the land of Israel.
According to media reports, Rabbi Metzger declared: "Since the establishment of the State, an everlasting alliance was made with our brothers of the honorable Druze community – an alliance that has known and passed many tests, with many of the community's sons giving their lives heroically for the land of Israel…We must only thank them and honor them for their contribution."
The issue emerged in the context of the current controversy in Israel regarding a high-ranking officer in the IDF.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.