An estimated 50,000 Druze and nation-state critics arrived in droves to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last night in protest of the special status of Druze Israelis and the Arabic Language in the recent Jewish Nation-State Law.
The demonstrators, who found themselves at the center of an increasingly polarizing issue for Israel, understand the new Nation-State Law as providing a legal framework for a trend toward minorities to have the official status of second-class citizens.
Many Druze leaders cite their contributions in high-ranking positions for the Israeli Military as an important aspect of their identity as Israeli citizens.
Reports also found that Druze communities have lower-quality infrastructure such as roads and access to water and electricity.
The special status of their people and language enshrined by the Nation-State Law, Druze leaders say, pushes the separation between them and the Jewish citizens further.
Israeli leaders were present in solidarity for the Druze community, saying that their contributions for the state of Israel cannot be understated.
However, the Netanyahu administration has been making efforts to polarize the issue of Druze criticism of the Nation-State Law.
Conflicting accounts made by the Netanyahu Administration and Druze leaders about their last meeting pushed supporters of the Likud party and the Druze community even further from any agreement about amending the Nation-State Law.
Likud sources say that Netanyahu walked out after a Druze leader told him the law created an Apartheid State. However, the Druze leader maintains that he said no such thing and that Netanyahu is looking to give his supporters a false reason for not attending the full meeting.
Netanyahu appears unwilling to make any changes to his Nation State law. And with his focus on a ceasefire deal with Hamas, this issue might not be the first disagreement he wants to resolve.