Haifa and the Northern Coast Feature
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The Druze are an Arabic-speaking minority whose remarkable cohesion and esoteric faith have enabled them to maintain their close-knit identity through almost a thousand years of turbulent history. In Israel, they number about 125,000 and live in 17 villages in the Carmel, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights. Larger kindred communities exist in Syria and Lebanon.
So exclusive is this sect that only a fraction of the community is initiated into its religious doctrine, one tenet of which is a belief in continuous reincarnation. The Druze broke away from Islam about 1,000 years ago, incorporating other traditions and also believing in the divinity of their founder, al-Hâkim bi-Amr Allâh, the Caliph of the Egyptian Fatimid dynasty from AD 996 to 1021. They don’t permit gambling or the use of alcohol.
The Druze who live in the two existing villages on Mt. Carmel (Daliyat el Carmel and Isfiya) serve in the Israeli army, a mark of their loyalty to Israel.Updated: 11-2013
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