Druze leaders in Israel (file)
Druze leaders in Israel (file) Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu extended his holiday greetings on Sunday to the Israeli Druze community, in time for their Nebi Shu'eib holiday.

The holiday focuses on Nebi Shu-eib, "Prophet Shu'eib" in Arabic, whose tomb is located near Kfar Zeitim outside of Tiberias. Druze and Muslim tradition claims the tomb is that of the Biblical Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses.

"My brothers and sisters of the Israeli Druze community, you are now celebrating the festival of Nebi Shu'eib and I extend my greetings," read a holiday greeting from the prime minister.

"This year the date of your holiday falls close to Independence Day and Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel's Wars," he continued. "As loyal citizens who love the country, I am familiar with and appreciate the contribution of the daughters and sons of the Druze community to Israeli society and to the state."

"A very high proportion of the community's young people are drafted into the best units in the IDF and the Israel Police and some of our best commanders come from among you. To my great sorrow, many of your sons have given their lives on behalf of the security of the state."

Netanyahu said that "Israeli society views you as brothers and sisters not just because of the bond of blood between our peoples but also due to the bond of life that has been built between us over the years. The traditions of your fathers and your faith and beliefs are bound with the history of our land. Like us, you too are part of the vistas of the Land of Israel."

The Druze religion grew out of a branch of Islam, with members of the community traditionally staying loyal to the country they live under.

"Our obligation as a state is to continue assisting each and every member of the community to integrate into Israeli society and to enable your young people to realize their potential," concluded Netanyahu. "I send my greetings to the elders of your community, especially your spiritual leader, Sheikh Muwafaq Tarif, and wish you and your families a happy holiday."

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