A ministerial committee, established in the wake of the Druze protest against the nation-state law, held its first session on Monday in the presence of five of the 11 ministers appointed to the panel.
Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated 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.
Last week Netanyahu proposed the establishment of the committee in response to fierce opposition by Druze leaders to the nation-state law, which they decried as discriminatory and failing to recognize the sacrifice Druze have made by serving in the Israel Defense Forces.
Last week Druze leaders said that the establishment of the committee did not address their demand, which is for the law to be amended.
Brigadier General (res.) Amal Asad, a leader of the fight against the law, said: “Our position remains unchanged. We expect a solution that includes total equality.”
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Ahead of the ministerial meeting, Druze leaders commented: “We continue to request and demand that the prime minister enshrine the legal status of the Druze community so as to grant full equality and equal citizenship in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. At the same time, we will continue to study the principles that are at the basis of the outline for achieving equal civil rights for the Druze.”
The five ministers who attended the session were Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel and Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, who was added to the committee after it was first established. Yesterday Netanyahu announced that the committee would also include Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, Construction and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzahi Hanegbi and Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev.
Deputy Minister Yitzhak Cohen was sent to sit in for Kahlon; Hagai Resnik, the director-general of the Housing Ministry, sat in for Galant; and Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan came in place of Lieberman. Both Hanegbi and Bennett were abroad. Regev and Deri are currently in Israel but were absent from the meeting.
Netanyahu told the committee to, “Promote the deep connection with the Druze community and our commitment to it, and show appreciation for all those who serve in the IDF and the security forces.”
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