Grapvine August 2, 2020

Movers and shakers in Israeli society

■ LOOKING to the future are members of the Druze Veterans Association who have entered into a partnership with the government of Israel and Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, to create the first Druze Hi-Tech Economic Empowerment Center. Although the bill proposed last week by Yesh Atid-Telem’s Druze MK Gadeer Mreeh for an amendment to the Nation-State Law, which would clarify the equality of all citizens, was defeated, the Druze are moving forward in their quest for equality with the groundbreaking ceremony for the hi-tech center, which will be known as DTec. These days, the D stands for Druze, but with help of Prof. Uri Sivan of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who has pledged his support to ensure that the project will thrive, DTec will one day stand for a doctorate in technology.
An initiative of the Druze Veterans Association, which was founded and is headed by Koftan Halabi, DTec’s groundbreaking is the fruit of five years of intensive lobbying and hard work, and was deliberately held on the eve of the festival of Eid al-Adha.
It had been hoped that the ceremony would be attended by President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin, but COVID-19 got in the way of plans, and in the final analysis, the state and the government were represented by Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shai, who enthusiastically lauded the project, and the tectonic promise it provides not only for the Druze community but for the national economy.
Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Moafak Tarif laid the first brick. Although many people who had wanted to attend had to be disinvited due to Health Ministry purple standard restrictions, Keren Hayesod World Chairman Sam Grundwerg, stood out among those present.