blems faced by the Palestinian population in Israel is the fact that they are prevented from visiting many Arab countries, and particularly Syria and Lebanon. The pretext for this prohibition is that these countries are perceived by the state, and by the Jewish majority, as “enemy countries.” Accordingly, the authorities are unable to appreciate that for the Palestinian population these contacts are natural and vital, just as contacts with the Jewish Diaspora are natural and vital for the Jewish majority. However, while the Jewish population enjoys complete freedom in maintaining its contacts with those in other countries, the Palestinian population is prevented from doing so.
The Jewish state is also unable to accept the obvious truth that, for the Palestinian population, contacts with the residents of Arab countries are not perceived as contacts with enemy countries, but as the continuation and strengthening of its bond with the Arab world, to which it belongs in social, national, and religious terms.
In the present article we focus on the situation faced by the Druze citizens of the State of Israel. For over 50 years, Druze citizens have been unable to visit their holy places and relatives in Syria, due mainly to Israel’s refusal. In their frustration, Druze citizens began to undertake such visits without securing the necessary authorizations from the Israeli authorities. As a result they have been subjected to irritating and unnecessary questioning and interrogation. Sheikh Abu Hasin Kamal Zeidan from Daliyat al-Carmel, one of the sheikhs who participated in the visits, describes this situation in the following terms: “This is an intolerable situation that leads us to feel that we may have to think again about our attitude toward the state we live in.”
To appreciate the situation faced by the Druze citizens, imagine that you were a devout Christian but were not permitted to visit the Church of the Resurrection; or a believing Jew prevented from visiting the Western Wall; or a pious Muslim but prevented from performing the commandment of the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). Although the place you consider most sacred is only four hours away, you have been unable to visit it for 50 years. Imagine the sense of frustration you would feel if you were forced to face such a reality.