Druze in the village of Majdal Shams
Druze in the village of Majdal Shams Photo by Archive
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The Kuneitra crossing on the Golan Heights is to be opened Monday to allow 15 Druze students studying in Syria to return, and let families of Syrian massacre victims pay condolence calls and visit the wounded.

The decision to open the crossing was made by Interior Minister Eli Yishai, pending the approval of the security establishment.

"I found it proper to respond to the request of Druze notables to open the Kuneitra crossing and allow passage of the families and students," said Yishai. "As a public servant it is an honor to help all the communities and sects in Israeli society."

The students relayed their request to return to their homes in the Golan Heights through the Druze spiritual leadership in the Golan, saying they wanted to leave the strife-torn country even though it was the middle of the academic year.

Yishai plans to see whether the students can be placed in higher education institutions in Israel to complete their studies, assuming the situation in Syria doesn't improve soon.

There are 245 Druze students studying in Syria, and the Interior Ministry is preparing for the possibility that more students will ask to come home.

"Anyone who wants to come back from Syria can do so," said a ministry official.

Yishai also agreed to let 35 Druze from the Golan, whose relatives were killed or wounded in the battles and disturbances in Syria, cross over to visit family there.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu briefly referred to the Syrian massacres when addressing the Knesset plenum yesterday, mentioning the "criminal slaughter in Syria. Every day it claims dozens and sometimes hundreds of innocent people. And not far from there, we hear the murderous declarations of Iranian leaders."