The Druze in Israel
The Druze are a unique ethnic and religious minority, which separated from the Shia religion back in the 11th century in Egypt. You can only be born Druze, but you cannot convert and become one. The Druze arrived to the Levant in the 16-17th centuries and settled under Ottoman rulers in Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The Druze are monotheistic, which means they believe in one God, like Jews, Christians, Muslims and Baha'i. In Israel the Druze live today in 16 villages on mount Carmel, in the Galilee and since 1967 also in 4 villages in the Golan.
The Druze have about 150,000 believers in Israel, and they've integrated very well within the Israeli society, serving in the army and occupying top jobs at the public and private sectors. The fact that Druze live in countries that are in a state of war with Israel - Lebanon and Syria, means they sometimes find themselves in difficult situations, but in most cases common sense prevails.
The main prophet of the Druze is Shuaib or Ythro, as he appears in the Bible, the father-in-law of Moses, the main Jewish prophet, which means we are sort of cousins, and that is exactly how you feel when you visit a Druze village - great friendship, excellent hospitality and sense of a joint destiny.
The Druze in the Carmel, the Galilee and the Golan show an amazing hospitality, their traditional food is simply amazing and the view they have from most of their villages in probably the best in the country. Here are some pictures taken from rooftops of Druze houses:
Birket Ram (Rom Pool) is a 1000 meters high volcano lake high up in the Golan.
Monfort fortress as seen from Yanuh.
Yehiam fortress from Yanuh, Upper Galilee.
Kziv river gorge, Mail'ya, Upper Galilee.
Tribute to the King of Hungary who visited Meil'ya in the 13th century.
The amazing scenery from Mount Ha'ari, Bet Jan, Upper Galilee.
We ride through several Druze villages in our 7 and 14 day tours, and we have lunch in a Druze village in our tours.