The annual event was co-founded by Druze officer Brig. Gen. Amal Assad and is dedicated to honoring the memory of Druze killed fighting for Israel, in manor that conforms to community’s beliefs, which preclude physical memorials.
A weekend event in northern Israel dedicated to a show of solidarity with Israel’s Druze community and honoring Druze soldiers who have been killed fighting in the country’s wars drew over 15,000 participants.
The event took place on the paths of the Carmel mountain ridge near the Druze towns of Daliyat al-Karmel and Isfiya. Options for the day included a family hike, a race, or a bike ride.
A number of senior government officials, including President Reuven Rivlin, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, Negev and Galilee Development Minister Silvan Shalom, and leading figures from the Druze community such as Brig. Gen. (res.) Amal Assad, co-founder of the For the Druze Boys organization, which hosted the event.
The group’s website explains that 397 Druze soldiers have been killed in battle while serving their country, but the community’s traditions eschew physical memorials or memorial ceremonies. The group was founded to commemorate the memory of the fallen in a manner appropriate to the community’s beliefs, while noting that the Druze participate in the national Memorial Day ceremonies to honor the rest of the country’s fallen soldiers.
Rivlin had warm words of praise for the event, calling solidarity with the Druze community an “eternal alliance.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, “It does the spirit good to see this colorful spectacle, especially seeing everyone taking part in sports activities.”