Floating Voter / The Druze Deserve a Lot More

Likud MK Ayoub Kara may not be worthy of a newspaper column, but the Druze sector that he allegedly represents most certainly is.

The Druze are probably the most wretched sector in Israel: They have no luck in general, and none with their representatives in the Knesset in particular.

They find themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea - the Jewish devil and the Arab deep blue sea. Many Jews view the Druze as Arabs, while Arabs see them as Jews, or at least as collaborators with the Jews. Woe to the Druze for their "Jewishness," and woe to the Druze for their "Arabness." They don't enjoy the best of both worlds; to the contrary, they find themselves in a lose-lose situation.

Had the Druze not existed in Israel, they would have had to be invented - if only to illustrate to ourselves the racism with which we are tainted and refuse to admit. The Arab citizens are downtrodden - this is documented and well known, and the discrimination is half-heartedly excused with expressions such as "security problems" and "a lack of trust." They don't fulfill all the obligations and therefore won't enjoy all the rights, is another excuse.

And what about the Druze citizens? When it comes to them, there are no security problems and they, as is well known, are super trustworthy. They fulfill all their civic obligations; and they serve in the army, mostly in combat units. Nevertheless, they are discriminated against. Their communities receive lower budgets than those given to the Arab communities because the cries of a small sector are more faint: They don't have electoral power, and the power they do have is usually divided among all the parties. There isn't a single party without its token Druze. Few know that achievements at Druze schools are the worst in the educational system, and the blame doesn't fall on the students. The state, with its irresponsibility, is responsible.

The Druze sector does not have fitting political representation that could fight for its cause. The outgoing Knesset included three Druze representatives - the Likud's Kara (who is still in the Likud), Majali Wahabi (who was in the Likud and is now in Kadima), and Saleh Tarif (a semi-MK because of the verdict pending in his trial). Kara is now vying for a place in the next Knesset. On Tuesday, he slaughtered sheep and held a party for his eldest son, Amir. It was a political event, with the happy and concerned father rather than the son the center of attention. Will he get elected a second time? Opinions are divided.

This column is designed to violate the rules of political correctness, and to call a spade a spade. Kara is a ludicrous character who is not worthy of representing a respectable sector. This is a man who is more of a Zionist than most of the Jewish MKs, and certainly more than me; and as such, he headed the anti-disengagement orange camp. It is a well-known secret among parliamentary reporters that even on a quiet day, Kara can always be relied on for some tidbit - and he never fails to produce the goods.

I have no doubt that the Druze community itself, for the most part, is ashamed of its public emissaries. It deserves a whole lot more, and its special problems require different quality. The sector is abundant in excellent individuals - renowned poet Samih al-Qasim, whose works are appearing this month in the Israel Writers Union periodical "Gag"; Nazeem Bader, who was appointed Knesset deputy secretary this month; Rafik Halabi, who earned a reputation as a journalist of the highest degree.

Why don't they come to the rescue of the sector? The truth is, I am not sure the three make an issue of their Druze identity, but it wouldn't be appropriate for me to intervene when it comes to the self-definition of my fellow men.

Every national minority - in any country, and in Israel too - seeks to compete with the majority, and this is natural and desirable competition. But, in the name of a common God, why should the Druze sector compete with the help of the worst and most inferior of them among us?