For the first time, members of Israel’s Druze community are coming together in an organized fashion to assist their brethren in Syria, especially the Druze who live in the hard-hit Idlib province.
Various Facebook pages associated with the Israeli Druze community on Thursday night put out a call to report on Friday at 5 p.m. to the grave of the Prophet Jethro, in the village of Hitim near Tiberias.
The meeting is to be held under the call to mobilize the community to help the Druze in Idlib, northern Syria, where al-Qaeda has been forcing members of the community to convert to Islam under pain of death, as revealed this week by The Times of Israel.
Druze officials told The Times of Israel that they are aware of the situation in 14 Druze villages in northern Syria and are considering what further steps to take. But it appears that the Friday meeting is not connected to the community’s leadership; this time it is the youngsters seeking to find a way to help their brothers.
Al-Qaeda in Syria, operating under the name “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” or ISIS, recently announced that residents of Druze villages would be executed and their homes destroyed if they did not publicly renounce their faith and embrace Sunni Islam.
The villagers were also required to convert their traditional prayer houses into mosques. Village representatives reluctantly agreed and announced that they were Muslim converts.
On Wednesday, the Organization of Sunni Islamic Scholars released a statement strongly condemning the actions of ISIS.
A post Thursday on the Druze-affiliated Facebook page “Horsemen of Justice” movement by “Youth of Maaruf” (a Druze alias) reported on the community meeting, and said the “Horsemen of Justice” movement would not sit idly by while criminal actions were being carried out against the Syrian Druze. It also said that terror groups in the villages were harming the Druze community and something must be done in response, and that there were some 18 villages being affected.