After Caesarea, we were back on the bus and on our way to Mt. Carmel and a view of the Baha’i Gardens, then lunch at a town called Daliat El Carmel, the southernmost Druze village.
Below, and set against a mountain backdrop, are some more unusual buildings (on the left), while the complex to the right houses Google of Haifa and Keysight Technologies, an international technology company.
On the Way to Daliat El Carmel
At left is a Druze man walking down the street. Our guide gave us some of the history of the Druze whose religion incorporates elements of Islam, Hinduism and classical Greek philosophy. Today there are about a million Druze living in communities in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan because the borders dividing up the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in 1948 divided them up and didn’t offer them any country. Today they make up about 2% of Israel’s population, most in the north — Galilee, Carmel and Golan Heights.
They have a very strong cultural identity and nobody can be a Druze unless born into it. Their religious books are only accessible to the initiates – al-Uqqal — while the others accept their traditions as handed down generation to generation. Women are considered the equal of men and may serve in the al-Uqqal as well. According to them, when the Druze were first established in the 11th century, that generation had an opportunity to convert, and everybody else is reincarnated from that generation … in other words, we all had our chance.
In Israel, they are active in public life and the Druze men serve in the Israeli military (Arabs living in Israel are exempt from military service). The bond between Jewish and Druze soldiers is commonly known at “brit damim” which means “covenant of blood.” According to Reda Mansour, a Druze poet, historian and diplomat, they are the only non-Jewish minority drafted into the military, and many serve in combat units and as officers. They are considered a very nationalistic, patriotic community.
I don’t know what the white building is below, but it appears to be something under construction on both sides of the road dead-ending at the wall. I wonder if it might be a Druze prayer house, since it is similar to some found in Google.
At left below is a house on a hill. I think it is a private residence. At right — Yes – there is a McDonald’s in Daliat El Carmel, but it is not kosher and it does not make the TripAdviser list of 10 Best Restaurants in Daliat El Carmel.
The sign in Hebrew (at left, below) on the front of the building that appears to be made of logs says they are selling children’s bedroom and office furniture. I really like the stone building behind it, but don’t know what it is.
From here, we went to Bet Shearim or “house of gates” which will be the next blog.