Israel’s ethno-religious Druze community is calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bomb Islamic State jihadists in Syria who continue to encroach upon Israeli territory. Not only are they moving closer to Israel, ISIS fighters are also threatening the Syrian Druze community, who remain dangerously vulnerable to an assault, Israeli Druze leaders warned.
The Islamic State jihadists have been successful in continuing to sweep up territory in Syria, including its push towards the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, where several Druze villages lie, according to reports.
Sheikh Maufak Tarif, the leader of Israel’s estimated 130,000 Druze, told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday that now is the time for Netanyahu to act to stop the Islamic State.
Tarif said he would “count on the prime minister and the Defense Ministry to do the right,” and requested that the United States also provide support to protect his fellow ethno-religious tribal members.
Tarif hoped that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) would protect the Druze community of Hader, located within miles of Israel’s side of the Golan Heights. He said the “Druze do not flee from their homes” and would fight to stay on their lands, but they are in great need of assistance.
“We request that the Americans would attack Islamic State in this area, just as it is doing in other parts of Syria. We meet with the Americans tomorrow to discuss the situation,” said Tarif..
Another Druze leader, Jaber Hamoud, expressed worry that Syrian Druze are facing annihilation if they do not receive help from foreign bodies. “We are worried about the Syrian Druze and demand that the world not stand by and do nothing,” said Hamoud.
Hamoud, a 25-year veteran of the Israeli army, advised the Israeli government to arm the Druze people of Syria. “The Druse love peace, but they know how to defend themselves. They need the means, not knives and axes,” he said Thursday. An Israeli government spokesman said that Jerusalem is ready to take in a certain number of Druze refugees for medical aid should the Islamic State launch an assault on their locations, forcing a mass exodus that would likely take them into Israel.