Netanyahu Convenes Knesset Panel Dedicated to Solving Druze Protest for Second Time

Committee discusses challenges posed to a government plan to strengthen the Druze community ■ Panel was set up in wake of major protest over nation-state law

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, August 12, 2018.
Jim Hollander,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened on Monday the ministerial committee dedicated to handling matters pertaining to Druze, Circassian and other members of Israeli minority groups who are part of the country's security forces.

This is the second time the committee is convening since it was decided to establish it last week over the Druze protest over the nation-state law.

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The committee discussed, among other topics, the hurdles posed to the implementation of a government decision over the "plan to develop and strengthen the Druze and Circassian communities in 2016-2019."

The prime minister instructed his office's director-general to meet with the heads of  Druze and Circassian authorities and the chairs of relevant government offices as well as to present the committee with practical steps to remove the hurdles in the way of carrying out the plan, with emphasis on housing solutions.  

The committee held its first session last Monday in the presence of five of the 11 ministers appointed to the panel.

Tens of thousands of Israelis protesting in solidarity with the Druze community against the nation-state law at a Tel Aviv demonstration, August 4, 2018.
\ Moti Milrod

Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated at the time that the committee should not be expected to make rapid decisions.

 “It’s important that we make correct decisions and not act hastily. We worked on the nation-state law for eight years. I’m not saying that we’ll work on this for eight years, but it won’t be eight days either,” said Netanyahu at the first session of the Ministerial Committee on Druze, Circassian and Minority Community Members who serve in the Security Forces Affairs.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators protesting the nation-state law rallied in Tel Aviv on Saturday night in the wake of the previous week's march, which drew tens of thousands of Israelis to protest in solidarity with the country's Druze community.

Netanyahu responded to the fact that Palestinian flags were waved at the protest, writing on Twitter: "There is no better testament for the necessity of the nation-state law. We will continue to wave the Israeli flag proudly and sing the anthem (Hatikva) with even greater pride."

The premier attached a video from the protest showing protesters hoisting Palestinian flags in the crowd.