“Yes, my friends, Israel is the living proof that democracy means progress. Science means growth. Literature and arts means enrichment. Israel today is an innovative, pluralistic society, where Christians, Arabs, Jews, Bedouins and Druze live together in peace.”
― Israel President Shimon Peres in accepting the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, June 2012
Poverty and need cross all ethnic and religious boundaries. This is especially true in the State of Israel where significant segments of the Arab and Druze communities struggle to make it through the day. Last week, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, traveled to the Druze village of Hurfeish near the border with Lebanon to meet with Druze leaders in order to get a better understanding of the problems, hardships, and needs of the community as well as how The Fellowship and 4Zion can help.
Rabbi Eckstein was welcomed with great respect by all 17 chairmen of the Druze municipalities. They gave a history of their religion as well as an explanation of their connection to the Jewish people. The Druze believe they are the descendants of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law. In later years, both during the Crusades and during the rule of the Ottoman Empire, both the Jews and the Druze were minority communities who aligned with one another in the face of persecution.
In the spirit of helping all Israelis in need, regardless of their religious beliefs, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein distributed food cards to the chairmen to help feed over 300 needy Druze families. The event was timed to provide supplies to families who will be observing the Feast of the Sacrifice, an important religious holiday that commemorates the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God, before God intervened and provided him with a sheep to sacrifice instead.