top of page

  Druze: Feast of the Prophet Jethro 


An old Druze proverb says "When a guest comes to the village, we must prepare a meal in his honor, without even asking him". Indeed, when I arrived at the sacred compound of the Prophet Shoaib's tomb, I was received by the representatives of the community with a beautiful welcome that also included, of course, rich refreshments that were placed on the tables and that awaited the many celebrants who came for the community's holiday. To many in the country, the Druze are an enigma: you know them and know that they serve in the army and we also occasionally stop by to buy something in Dalit Al Carmel, but what about the cultural and religious baggage they carry with them? Part of the ignorance depends on the fact that the Druze religion is secret and visible only to the religious priests and devout believers who have sworn not to reveal. But still there are some things that can be discovered. That's why I went to see what the Druze celebrate. As every year on the 24th of April, hundreds of members of the congregation gathered at the Holy Sepulcher complex, which is located in a pastoral place somewhere between the Harbel Cliffs and the Horns of Wheat (near Tiberias). The magnificent complex is very impressive. Here, according to the Druze belief, the prophet Shoaib, also known as Jethro Khotan Moshe, was buried. He is the main prophet of the sect that was founded in the 11th century when they withdrew from the Shiite stream of Islam. In the tomb complex, we met the former MK Salah Tarif, a member of the family of Muwafek Tarif, who today serves as the head of the community. Inside the huge prayer house, which consists of magnificent chandeliers, I met worshipers. After that, I checked on Wikipedia about the principles of the Druze religion, the Druze religious books from which the religious teachings are learned, called the Books of Wisdom (Rasail The books are copied exclusively by hand, written on parchment by a skilled scribe, and they are kept secret by the 'Uqal. The six books of religion include 111 scriptures. There is only one interpretation of the scriptures, so the Druze jealously guard a commentary as well. This and even it is considered secret. The Druze house of prayer is called "Khilwa" and only the Aukal (the religious elders and the educated) are allowed to pray there. Druze children up to the age of 15 are also allowed to enter the Khilwa, because at the age of 15 they decide whether to be religious or secular (Johal), and before that they can be "impressed" by the religious life. On the other hand, there is no obstacle to "converting" or becoming secular, but a religious person who becomes secular is prohibited from revealing the main points of the religion. In the large and shaded square, meetings were held with the heads of the community who said that it was necessary to Among all the denominations, there was even a representative of the Christian denomination. The Druze celebrate 4 holidays of their own and two more that are also shared by the Muslims, although the celebration among the Druze is slightly different. One of the members of the community told me about the meaning of the colors of the colored flag of the community "green symbolizes nature red - love yellow reminds us of the sun and white symbolizes purity for us". I walked around the compound and enjoyed the amazing Druze sweets and met a Druze soldier there who was surprised to see me "I'm glad you came to get to know our community up close" he told me. 

bottom of page