The Druze community in Israel has long been a leader in combat service in the Israel Defense Force and it now appears that one of the last and most prestigious spots in the Israeli military not yet conquered by them is about to fall. While a small number of Druze have finished the extremely challenging Israel Air Force (IAF) flight academy as navigators, none have as yet graduated as fighter pilots.
Cadet “G”, a Druze from one of the villages in Northern Israel and a scion of a large family with a long record of service in the IDF special forces, is four months away from becoming a fighter helicopter pilot. Unlike many others, he made the choice to pilot helicopters rather than fixed-wing fighter jets himself. According to him, he prefers helicopters because they provide a more immediate combat experience. “G”‘s family notes that he has always been a super-achiever, excelling at representing Israel as a teenager both at home and abroad. Apparently “G” is not keen on keeping his family abreast of his accomplishments in the flight academy, preferring instead that they learn about them from friends and family members many months after the fact.
“G”‘s and his family’s exemplary contributions to Israeli society and security highlight the need to provide the Druze community with official and legally binding special status in the face of the recently passed Nationality Law that lumps all non-Jewish citizens of Israel into a single category regardless of their contributions to the state and their support for it.