The initiative is aiming to advance both the Israeli Druze community and Israeli society, by promoting a young Druze civic leadership that is committed to the State of Israel and Druze heritage, values and history, increasing Druze representation in Israeli public sector positions of social and political influence.
The Arabic-speaking Druze community in Israel is a small, close-knit, ethnic and religious group, set apart by its dual ambition for political and social integration on one hand, and maintaining cultural and religious separatism on the other. Most Druze live in homogeneous towns and villages, in close geographical proximity to each other, which until recently allowed them to live in a cultural enclave, with limited and careful exposure to the surrounding modern Jewish society. However, in recent decades, cultural, technological, and moral global influences challenge the community’s boundaries, especially among the younger generation, as many young Druze find themselves question their ethnic identity, their values, religion, and even their sense of belonging to the community.
Although traditional and conservative in nature, as it is represented by a religious leadership, the Druze community in Israel participates in social, political, and military life with a close affinity to the Jewish population, making an outsized contribution to every aspect of Israeli life. The Military service and public sector positions are highly valued within Druze society, and open avenues for internal social mobility. Thus, the Druze senior army officers and public administration officials came to constitute a new social stratum in recent years, which lays out a framework for a new “secular” social and political leadership that is separated from the community’s traditional religious leadership.
Developed by the Menomadin Foundation in collaboration with the Ma’ase Center and the Druze Heritage Center, the A’alam initiative promotes young Druze civic leadership that is committed to strengthening both Israeli society and the Druze community, alongside the community’s traditional leadership. The training program embraces Druze history, values and heritage while providing participants with the skills and knowledge required to reach key positions in local and national Israeli public sector.
The program accompanies 15 talented and motivated young Druze men and women, selected through rigorous screening processes. The participants undergo six months of training, which includes dedicated workshops, tours, meetings with Israeli and Druze public figures, and intensive seminars. The initiative’s management provides participants with personal guidance in their community involvement initiatives, and assists graduates throughout the admission process for significant career tracks in the public sector. Graduates are expected to continue their academic studies in cadet program frameworks and eventually work to advance both the Druze community and Israeli society while serving in key positions in Israel’s centers of influence.
In the long run, the initiative is aiming to significantly increase Druze representation in Israeli centers of influence and create a network of young Israeli-Druze leaders in key positions, that influence public social agenda at the local and national levels, and strengthen both the State of Israel’s social resilience and Israeli Druze community.