This month, The Tower’s photographer Aviram Valdman takes his camera to Israel’s northern Druze villages.
Amid the din of religions, ethnic groups, sects, and clans that make up the Middle East–Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews, Shiites, Sunnis, Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Alawites, Hashemites (and the list goes on)–one group, the Druze, remains tantalizingly quiet. A community with roots in Islam that is Arab by ethnicity, the Druze exist as both a distinct nationality and a religion that worships according to the tenets of a sect shrouded in secrecy.
The Druze are known for their loyalty to the countries they call home, including Israel, where they have distinguished themselves in business and on the battlefield, as well at the dining table and political forums. With their communities tucked into the hills of the Galilee, where some of the most cherished shrines, including the Tomb of Jethro, still exist, the Druze are a part of Israel and yet separate from it, deeply embedded in national life and yet able to maintain a distinct identity that has endured for centuries.
Click on arrows to navigate. For best results, click on each photo individually to see its full detail and proportions.
Banner Photo: Aviram Valdman / The Tower