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Fighting for Israel, Druze demand end to demolition orders

Druze (R) and Israeli (C) flags fly outside the local council building in the predominantly Druze city of Beit Jann in northern Israel
— Beit Jann (Israel) (AFP)

In black robes, white moustaches and traditional hats, Druze religious elders stood before the coffin of Israeli soldier Adi Malik Harb, killed fighting Hamas militants in Gaza.

But while Israel's Druze minority serve in the military and fight and die for the country, many of them say their communities are marginalised and deprived of public investment while families are fined crippling sums for building homes due to selective enforcement of planning rules.

Around 150,000 Druze, Arab adherents of an esoteric offshoot of Shiite Islam, live in Israel. Most identify as Israelis and the men -- not women -- are conscripted into the military, many serving in combat units.

The Druze community is concentrated in 16 villages in northern Israel, among them Beit Jann, where Harb's funeral took place on Sunday.

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