Last modified on December 15, 2022, at 03:53


The Druze are a religious group living mainly in the Middle East. Their religion is an offshoot of Islam, but also incorporates other religious elements.

The Druze (or Druse) comprise a closely knit religious community estimated at 300,000-450,000 people. Most live in Syria and Lebanon; smaller groups are in Israel and Jordan. The spiritual leader of the Druze in Israel is Sheik Mowafaq Tarif.


The Druze religion originated in 1017 AD, when the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim declared himself to be the final incarnation of God. The name Druze comes from al-Hakim's first missionary, al-Darazi (d. 1019). The Druzes' first imam (religious leader), however, was Hamza ibn Ali, al-Darazi's rival. After al-Hakim disappeared in 1021, Hamza developed the doctrines of the faith, which included the belief that al-Hakim would return on Judgment Day

For centuries the Druze were hostile to the Ottoman Empire, leading numerous revolts, often with support from Christian states in Europe.

Around 1630, Druze emir Fakhr al-Din Ma'n (1572-1635) gained effective control of provinces of the Ottoman Empire along the coasts of Syria and Palestine. His rise, fall from power, and eventual execution shed light on the decentralized nature of the Ottoman state, how the Ottomans tolerated and even encouraged factional fighting among provincial elites, and the efforts of Medici Tuscany to establish footholds in the eastern Mediterranean. The key to Fakhr al-Din's political success lay in his ability to mobilize local resources and to work with foreign consuls and merchants to provide security for the Mediterranean trade so vital to the region's economic well-being.

Maronite conflict

The Maronite-Druze conflict in Lebanon, 1840-60 was an outgrowth of the Maronite Christian independence movement directed against the Druze and Ottoman-Turks. The civil war was not therefore a religious war, except in Damascus where it spread and where the population was anti-Christian. The movement culminated with the 1859-60 massacre and defeat of the Christians by the Druzes, who were aided by the Turks. French intervention on behalf of the Maronites did not help the Maronite national movement since France was restricted in 1860 by Britain which did not want the Ottoman Empire dismembered. But European intervention pressured the Turks to treat the Maronites more justly.[1]


The Israeli Druze Community - A Covenant of Brotherhood.[2] Comprise between 120,000 and 150,000 Druze citizens (the third-largest Druze community in the world, after Syria and Lebanon).

The Druze in Israel are a very integrated sector and are loyal. By in large, they are separated from the wider Israel's Arab minority. Also, the government of Israel helps Druze's choice of separatism through a special educational curriculum emphasizing Druze history and culture, Druze folklore, a calendar of holy days and feasts, and the 'invention of traditions,' including pilgrimages and festivals, associated with the rebuilt or even newly created 'maqamat' (holy places).

Due to requests from the Israeli Druze leadership, ever since 1956 all Israeli Druze males are obliged to serve in the IDF.[3] Israeli Druze serve in all branches and corps of Israeli military, some even serving as high-ranking officers and members of elite units.[4] The Druze are also well integrated in Israeli politics, as evidenced by their relatively strong presence in the Knesset.[5]

The racist Arab pro-Jihad, Ahmad Tibi stated to a Druze, "my shoe is cleaner than your community."[6]

Druze boy's body kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists (Nov-2022)

A highlighted incident happened in Nov 2022, when Arab "Palestinian" terrorists snatched the body of a Druze boy who was treated in Jenin.[7] In response, some Druze kidnapped a few Palestinians.[8] The furious Israeli-Druze community has also issued threats via social networks against the terrorist hotbed of Jenin.[9] There is a wide belief that it was this measured - speaking their "language," that brought it swiftky about to an end.

United States

The American Druze community began in 1881, and pockets of settlement were established without weakening their links to Lebanon. The Arabic language is still used within the communities. The Druze, who see themselves as Islamic but not Muslim, have been active in Arab-American organizations, and in the 1980s the American Druze Public Affairs Committee was formed specifically to counter the Zionist lobby.


The most authoritative Druze religious text is the Kitab al-hikma (Book of Wisdom), a collection of 111 letters, some of them written by al-Hakim and Hamza. The community is divided into two groups: the uqqual and the juhhal. The uqqual are those initiated into the teachings of the hikma (religious doctrine); the juhhal, comprising the great majority of the population, are unfamiliar with these tenets

External links

Further reading

  • Betts, R. The Druze (1988)
  • Firro, Kais. The Druzes in the Jewish State: A Brief History (1999)
  • Hitti, Philip K. The Origins of the Druze People and Religion, with Extracts from Their Sacred Writings (1928)
  • Kanaan, Claude Boueiz. Lebanon, 1860-1960: A Century of Myth and Politics. (2005)


  1. Antoine Abraham, "Lebanese Communal Relations," Muslim World 1977 67(2): 91-105
  2. Chaim Lax, The Israeli Druze Community: A Covenant of Brotherhood, HR, November 28, 2022.
    The Israeli Druze community is one of the groups that make up the 26% of Israel’s non-Jewish population that contributes to the diverse makeup of Israeli society. Although they only account for less than 2%…
  3. The Druze in Israel
  4. Dover Zahal
  5. Druze likely to comprise 5% of next Knesset, despite small population - Haaretz
  6. "You are a collaborating Druze; my shoe is cleaner than your community", Globes, 29.04.1999.

    The Druze policeman, who claims that Ahmad Tibi insulted and attacked him, testified today (Wednesday) in the Jerusalem District Court.

    "You are a Druze collaborator. My shoe is cleaner than your community" - this is how the Druze policeman described the incident with Tibi near an Israeli checkpoint in the Ramallah area. According to the police officer, Ahmad Tibi was not in the vehicle that was stopped for inspection and he arrived at the scene only after he was called to the scene by his driver. The policeman stated in his testimony that after the first insults, Tibi attacked him with a punch and even said to him: "Come on, shoot me."

    Continuing his testimony, the policeman said that senior officers arrived at the scene and instead of receiving a report from him, they rushed to Tibi, to hear his version.
  7. יוסף חדאד - Yoseph Haddad@YosephHaddad
    Tiran Pero, a 17 year old Israeli Arab Druze boy was killed in a serious car accident near Jenin. Palestinian terrorists kidnapped his body to trade it for the release of imprisoned terrorists. This is simply unbridled evil and inhumanity! [1]

    (Nov 22, 2022).

  8. Idan Yosef, Druze kidnapped and attacked three Palestinians near Yerka, News1, 11/24/22.
    Five Palestinian laborers from Hebron who work in the Yarka area were kidnapped tonight and beaten by unknown Druze men in the background of the kidnapping of the body in Jenin...
  9. Druze Community Threatens Jenin If Boy's Body Not Returned, The Jewish Press, Nov 23, 2022.