Updated: May 2, 2021
If you venture to the North of Israel, you’ll find lush greenery and a very special community – The Druze.
You may have never heard of the Druze community because they mainly live in villages in the North of Israel. Although they speak Arabic, and many of them serve in the Israeli army, they have their own unique religion and culture, and even a separate court of law (recognized by Israel) that distinguishes them from other Israeli Arabs.
The Druze descended from Islam in Egypt more than 1000 years ago! The Druze religion is also informed by Judaism and Christianity and even has influences from Greek Philosophy and Hinduism. They recognize Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed as prophets.
There are about 143,000 Druze in Israel, which is about 1.5% of the total Israeli population. Worldwide there are only about 1 million Druze people in total!
The Druze have a very cool system of beliefs.
They are monotheistic.
Their religious texts are only available to a select group of individuals deemed worthy to access them. Makes you curious right?!
However, if you aren’t born Druze, you will never get the opportunity to find out what these texts say because their religion does not accept any converts.
They have 7 "Principles of Conduct” that they follow:
Complete honesty (which means avoiding theft, murder, and adultery)
Denouncing other religions
Belief in one God
Acceptance of God’s acts
Submission to God’s will
Women and men have equal rights in marriage and religious life. Women are encouraged to participate in religious ceremonies and be part of the al-Uqqual (“the knowledgeable”), the small group of Druzim that have access to all the religious teachings.
The Druze only celebrate one holiday – Eid al-Adha.
This holiday commemorates the prophet Ibrahim being told by God that he must sacrifice his son, and honor Ibrahim’s obedience to God. They spend the holiday praying, feasting, and visiting friends and family.
Although they don’t accept converts, they are masters of hospitality. Isfiya and Daliyat El Carmel are two of the Druze villages that will welcome you with open arms and a big smile. You can go on a tour and get a closer look at their unique culture.
When you go, make sure to sample some warm and delicious Druze pita, dripping with oil and zaatar!