Interview with Atta Yemini: Zionist Druze Activist for a Greater Israel
I met Atta Yemini at an Im Tirzu-organized tour of Eastern Jerusalem. Atta’s views are based on his long time desire to connect with the
Jewish people. Atta works to persuade more Druze youths to serve in the IDF (the vast majority already honorably serve in the IDF and many have given their lives in defense of the Jewish State). He reminded me of another Druze friend I have whose two sons were killed in battle fighting. It seems from what I know about the Druze community in Israel, these are brave, honorable people who want to lead respectful lives as an integral part of Israeli society.
The following is my interview with Atta:
Me: Tell me a little about yourself: Where do you live? What do you do? Married? How many kids do you have?
Atta: I live in Daliyat al-Carmel. I served in the IDF (the artillery corps) and finished my tour of duty as a lieutenant colonel. I’m married with three kids. I work as a project engineer in Nofim Projects Co. and volunteer as an Israel advocacy spokesperson on behalf of the Druze community.
Me: How did you become such a big Zionist? Did you meet any opposition in your family or within your community for doing what you do?
Atta: Zionism is in my blood. As a kid, me and a couple of friends decided that one day we would found the Druze Foundation for the Land of Israel in order to prevent the Arab MK’s from creating barriers between the Druze community and the State of Israel.
The Druze people are a branch of the Nation of Israel and just like our Jewish brethren have Gidon Levi and Zahava Galon, we also have left wingers amongst us but these are a small, brainwashed minority.
I don’t feel any threat from the Druze—on the contrary, the Druze youth and the people on the street love Israel. The Druze have the highest army conscription rate (86%) out of any population group in Israel. We’ve recently begun a new project to further increase the amount of Druze youth serving in the IDF. It’s called “מהתנ”ך” לפלמ”ח “—”From the Bible to the Palmach.”
Me: Please tell me about your army service: where did you serve? What was your rank? Did you feel like there was any discrimination?
Atta: I served in the artillery corps and was an artillery commander, deputy commander of the officers course in the artillery corps and finished my service in the position of lieutenant colonel. I didn’t feel any discrimination during my tour of service in the IDF.
Me: Should all Israelis, irrespective of national origin, serve in the IDF? Why?
Atta: Every Israeli citizen living here is responsible for serving in the army. It’s a big privilege to be able to serve the State of Israel. You shouldn’t serve to honor the country or attain privileges but because of your love for the Jewish people and want to protect the borders of the Jewish State.
Me: How does the Druze community view you?
Atta: I find myself within the consensus of the Druze community. The Druze view me favorably.
Me: How should Israel resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict?
Atta: The Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people. Period. We cannot allow an enemy Arab state to be created West of the Jordan. No comprimise should be made on this issue.
Me: What are your dreams and hopes for the future? What will Atta be doing 10-15 years down the line?
Atta: My career is not a personal matter for me. I will serve the State of Israel and place myself in the position in which I’m most needed. I will do everything so that Zionist State continues being a strong, Zionist, Jewish state in a fledgling Middle East.
If any of you has any further questions, feel free to contact me via my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/atta.farhat?fref=ts