Technological revolution underway in Israel’s Druze community, empowering youth

For the first time, the Druze community in Israel is training its youth in hi-tech, seeking to overcome the challenges of integrating fully into Israeli society.

By Zevi Pilzer, World Israel News

The Druze community in Israel is a small minority, measuring at about 143,000 in population. Unlike some other minorities in the country, the Druze believe in integrating into Israeli society, but the road there has not always been easy.

While the majority of Israeli Druze have served successfully in the IDF for decades, with many having lost their lives defending the Jewish state, success in civil life has been coming along at a slower pace, especially when it comes to the business and technology sectors.

In 2009, Koftan Halabi, a Druze leader from northern Israel, established the “Druze Soldier Association.” His vision was to promote the status of Druze IDF soldiers in Israeli society in all aspects; cultural, educational and economic.

Nearly 13 years later, Halabi’s vision is coming to life, with the Druze Soldier Association inaugurating the “Technological Innovation Center of the Druze Community,” the very first of its kind in the Druze world.

The new center is training teams of young Druze men and women in the QA (Quality Assurance) domain – one of the oldest and most popular fields in hi-tech – at the Technion university in Haifa, the leading academic technological institution in Israel.

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Head of the Isfiya Local Council Bahig Mansour, who is promoting this project in Druze villages, said that he sees a future in hi-tech for young men and women in the Druze community and he would like to see the project take shape in his own village.

Shiek Mowafaq Tarif, spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, is one of the first religious leaders to support the educational development of Druze youth. “Members of the Druze community must integrate into the hi-tech world in any way possible,” he said, “in order for us to continue becoming a central part of the global society.”

“Within the digital world that changes daily,” he added, “walls are coming down and countries no longer exist. Hi-tech enters all areas of our lives, and as a society that believes in moving forward, the Druze community must be there.”