Israel Refuses Re-entry to 5 Druze Who Made Condolence Call in Syria

Golan Heights residents stuck in Syria for more than six weeks after visiting family members in Suwara.

Five Druze residents of the Golan Heights have been stuck for more than six weeks in Syria after Israeli authorities denied them permission to cross back into the Golan.


The group includes two women, Hamaa Shaar, 36, and Johara Shakhrur, 56, from the Golan Heights town of Buqata, who were visiting their families in Suwara, Syria following the death of Sha'ar's brother and Shakhur's mother.

The family's lawyer, Haran Riechman, wrote the Interior Ministry's Population Administration bureau in Kiryat Shmona that when the women left for Syria, MK Ayoob Kara (Likud ) had obtained special permission for them to stay for two weeks instead of the 48 hours the Israeli authorities had initially given them.

Riechman wrote that for unknown reasons, five days after the women left, the Interior Ministry demanded they return.

Six other Israeli residents of the Golan Heights in Syria received the same instruction; some managed to make it to the Quneitra crossing within a few hours.

However, the women only reached the crossing a day later, together with three other Israeli Golan Heights residents who had also been in Suwara. Their families were already waiting for them, as were the Military Police and the Red Cross, but the Interior Ministry official did not show up, the border remained closed, and the women returned to Suwara, Riechman told Haaretz.

"One of the soldiers told the family that the army was preventing their return and it was unclear why," Riechman also said.

Riechman wrote the Population Administration that if the women are not allowed back by the weeked, he will appeal to the High Court of Justice.

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Sabin Hadad, said Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces is responsible for the Quneitra crossing.