Israel’s Druze honor the prophet Jethro

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We normally only send out one update per month, but there have been so many recent articles regarding the Druze, that we feel that you should be made aware of some of them.

Following is a link to an excellent article that was published today (4/24/2018) in The Times of Israel:

Israel’s Druze honor the prophet Jethro

Yes, Jethro, as in Moses' father-in-law. The Druze faith is VERY different from other religions, including Islam. It is purposely shrouded in mystery by its religious leaders. However, this article sheds some light on the Druze here in Israel, and also mentions those in the Golan, to whom we minister.

Please pray for the Druze over these next few days as many of them make a pilgrimage to Jethro's tomb, located in the Galilee. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to them even as their faith rejects the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For we know that it is God's will that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Important Aspects

The Druze are also Arabs, meaning that they speak Arabic and follow many of the cultural practices of the Arab culture. Here are some of the important aspects in Arab culture:
Family – center of everything with Father being the head and having the final word.
Friends – kept in the periphery but they are courteous to all.
Honor – very important; honor will be protected and defended at all costs
Shame – (especially against family) avoided at all costs, insults and criticism i...s taken very seriously.
Time – less rigid, event oriented. The approach to time is more relaxed and slower than in Western cultures.
Society – family and tribe is most important. Age and Wisdom is honored as well as wealth.

Arabic communities are tight-knit groups made up of even tighter family groups. Family pride and honor is more important than individual honor. As you can see there are some aspects of Druze and Arabic culture that make it very difficult for individuals to come to faith in Jesus compared to the individualistic culture and mindset of the West.

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The Women

Inside a single-room stone house in the village of Hurfeish, high in the mountains of northern Israel, about 40 women filled wooden benches, plastic chairs and modern leather couches. All were dressed in black or navy blue, wearing dresses or long skirts and blouses, with transparent white veils draped over their heads. Their hands were busy with sewing needles, making white lace or colourful embroidery.
There is a growing number of women in Israel’s mountainous and isolated ...Druze villages that are beginning to open their craft circles, kitchens and homes to tourists. They – along with other local women offering in-home meals and cooking workshops – are often helped by public grants and courses in entrepreneurship, as the government wants to increase employment among Arabic-speaking minorities. This not only helps women economically, but allows visitors more intimate encounters with the Druze. Please ask God to send His followers to these women to share of Jesus’ love for them.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY

Druze residents of the Masada village in the Golan Heights waved Syrian flags during a rally marking Syria’s Independence Day on April 17, 2017. Hundreds of Druze in the Golan Heights marched in commemoration carrying portraits of President Bashar al-Assad and chanting anti-Israel slogans. “God save Syria!” they shouted as they rallied in the town of Masada. “Down with the occupation!”
The vast majority of Golan Druze have retained Syrian nationality, despite the Israeli offe...r to acquire Israeli citizenship. The civil war which has ravaged their homeland for the past six years is reflected in local divisions, with Masada opponents of the Assad regime refusing to march behind his picture. But both sides are united in their opposition to what they term the Israeli occupation, residents told AFP. “We retain our Syrian identity and follow the path of national resistance,” said Nasser Ibrahim, one of the organizers of the march.

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CHRISTIANS

The Druze (and Jews) living in Israel are very suspicious of Christians, many believing that Christians missionaries are the most dangerous of all people. They have a set stereotype of what Christians are like and what we believe. Jesus, the Savior of all mankind, is what that they (Druze and Jews) don't want to discuss more than any other subject.
Some of the best progress that has been made in sharing Jesus with the Druze has come when they can see that Christians, and the ...Jesus they love, don’t always fit into the stereotype they have believed
.
PRAY

Ask the Holy Spirit to Pray that God would send more Christians to the Druze.
Ask the Holy Spirit to open the minds of the Druze to see they have misjudged Jesus.
Pray that the Druze would step out of darkness into the wonderful light of Jesus.
begin a disciple making movement among the Druze in the Golan.

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Messiah

The main claim of the Druze against Christianity concerns the means of determining the identity of the Messiah. The Druze believe the “real Messiah” is a man named Hamz ibn Ali and the qualities of Jesus as the evangelist (as He is called in the “injil” – one of the four Isalmic holy books) are attributed not to him, but rather to the "real Messiah".

The Druze beliefs have caused them to be closed and push Christians aside when they talk about Jesus. They have not been able to see that in Jesus, Yahweh Yireh has provided the perfect Messiah who came to bring salvation to all.

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Marriage

Entering into a marriage and the choice of a person’s spouse is one of the most influential decisions in a person’s life. The desire of the Druze people to marry someone within the faith is not just a preference—the religion prohibits exogamy. If a Druze marries a non-Druze, it will not be a Druze wedding, nor can the couple’s children be officially Druze—the religion can only be passed on through birth to two Druze parents. There are no conversions into the Druze faith. Occa...sionally, high-profile cases of Druze marrying outside the faith pop up—for example, the marriage of Amal Alamuddin, who is Druze, and the actor George Clooney who is not Druze. The central belief of the Druze faith: Humans are reincarnated lifetime after lifetime, is one of the biggest reasons why exogamy is prohibited—marrying a Druze means continuing the cycle. Marrying a non-Druze means turning your back on your family’s efforts to maintain the faith over many generations.

Pray:

Ask the Holy Spirit to help us in the season of praying and waiting to remember that He is the one who is doing the work in the Druze people.

Pray that God would continue to build up His army as He calls His people to pray for the Druze.

Pray that God would use people and marriages like Amal and George Clooney’s to create conversations about faith amongst the Druze people.

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SOME FACTS

 

In Israel, the Druze are active in public life and subject to the military draft. In fact, for more than four decades, the Israeli military had a primarily Druze infantry unit called the Herev, or sword battalion. This is in contrast with Israeli Arabs, who are exempt from military service. About six-in-ten Druze men included in our survey say they have served (45%) or currently are serving (15%) in the Israeli military. Druze women are not required to serve. Among Israeli Jews, 75% of men and 57% of women currently serve in the military or have served in the past (Israeli Jewish men and women are required to serve, with some exemptions).

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Majdal Shams

With some 10,000 residents, Majdal Shams is considered to be the center of the Druze community in the Golan. The most important residents – both spiritually and politically – are the Abu-Salah and Safdie families. Majdal Shams is situated in the southern foothills of Mount Hermon, and is surrounded by hundreds of acres of orchards, the main crops being first class apples and cherries.
The largest of the Golan’s four Druze towns – big enough to have traffic jams – Majdal Shams serves as the commercial and cultural center of the Golan Druze community. Druze flags flutter in the wind, and you often see men with elaborate curling moustaches sporting traditional Druze attire, including a black shirwal (baggy pants) and a white fez. That said, the town is considerably less conservative than most Druze villages: young women dress like typical secular Israelis and alcohol is available in several pubs. It is not uncommon to see high end vehicles and ATV’s along with children playing and people visiting on the streets of Majdal Shams.
Majdal Shams may not look like much, but the Druze town is a hub for skiers in the winter and berry pickers in the fall. It's also a year-round destination for wine lovers because of the local vineyards, and foodies, as Druze cuisine is renowned in the region.
 

Did you know?

Meaning of the colors of the Druze Flag/Star:
The Druze hold five cosmic principles which are represented by the five colored Druze star and flag: intelligence/reason (green), soul (red), truth expressed in word (yellow), precedent (blue), and immanence (white).
Pray:
Remember a time where you felt far from God. Have you always known about God? Did you come to faith later in life? Do you know what it feels like to be separated from Him?
Pray that the Holy Spirit would give you a heart for people like the Druze who are separated from Him.
Pray that the Druze would seek the truth. Pray that as they are seeking the Truth, Jesus would reveal Himself to them.
Pray that the strongholds of fear and tradition and evil practices that hold the Druze captive would be broken in the Name of Jesus.
Pray that the Holy Spirit would start a disciple making movement among the Druze.