On Thursday, Oct. 24, Col. Rassan Alian, a Druze officer from the village of Shfaram, was appointed commander of the Golani Brigade. While this is not the most senior position that a member of this community has filled in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), many see his promotion as a symbolic and significant step forward in the relationship between the state and this community. After all, the Golani Brigade has always been considered an integral part of the Israeli mythos. It is one of the most popular and requested combat units in the IDF.
The story of the Druze community in Israel is unique, consisting of unconditional loyalty on the one hand, with ongoing, incomprehensible discrimination on the other. Some 120,000 Druze now live in Israel in 22 villages in the northern part of the country. While the Druze residents of Majdal Shams and Mas’ade in the Golan Heights consider themselves Syrians who were forced to live in Israel, most members of the community, living in the Upper Galilee and on the slopes of Mount Carmel, have forged a blood alliance with Israel, which has persisted from the establishment of the country until today.