A very general classification would deem them Arabs – this is in broad recognition of their language and culture. Worldwide there are roughly one million Druze, living mainly in Syria and Lebanon. Over the years many have emigrated throughout the world, mainly to Europe and North and South America.
The Druze of Israel
In 1948, when the land of Palestine was handed over to a new Jewish government by the British Empire and under the auspices of a United Nations partition, the Druze opted against Arab nationalism, along with their Muslim counterparts – though they have never had a problem accepting Jewish nationalism, or living under an Israeli flag. There are 104,000 Druze in Israel, with the highest concentration in the Golan Heights, which came under Jewish rule in 1967.
The Druze community of Israel, have their own courts, with jurisdiction on matters such as, marriage, divorce, maintenance and adoption. For years they have served in both the Israel Defense Force as well as the Border Police, originally on a volunteer basis, and more recently as part of the country's general draft program. In this military sphere, as well as political and public, these good-natured people have been known to attain and maintain high-level positions. This should be seen as a great accomplishment.
The Religion of the Druze
The religious roots of the Druze are steeped in something called Ismailism. It is a religo-philosophical movement which founded the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt in the 10th century. They came into being during the reign of Al-Hakim (996-1021), blending Islamic monotheism with Greek philosophy and Hindu influences. The existing middle-eastern communities of Druze have existed since 1516, when the Ottoman conquest of Syria took place and Sultan Selim I recognized Fakhr al-Din as Emir of the Maronite Christians and the Druze.
They hold in esteem as mentors all different types of figures: Jethro, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, Salman the Persian, Mohammed, Akhenaton, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Alexander the Great.
There are no rituals or ceremonies – that is no fixed daily liturgy, no defined holy days and no pilgrimage obligations. Instead they seek spiritual connection with God at all times. These are the tenants of the Druze faith:
- Speaking the truth (instead of prayer)
- Supporting your brethren (instead of charity)
- Abandoning the old creeds (instead of fasting)
- Purification from heresy (instead of pilgrimage)
- Accepting the unity of God
- Submitting to the will of God (instead of holy war)
The Culture of the Druze
Besides for their hospitality and kindness, the Druze are also known for being a very creative people. Their beautiful and colorful artwork both ancient and modern, usually employs different kinds of natural paints and textiles, found in the Middle East. In the north of Israel, particularly near Mount Carmel, there are several Druze villages which have arts and crafts shows and host nights of Druze folklore. MostOriginal.com offers a selection of Unique Authentic Druze Handbags and Purses.