"The incident that took place at the nuclear research site is serious, outrageous and totally contradicts our policies," Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon said over the weekend, responding to a recent incident reported in Israeli media about discrimination against Druze soldiers at the Dimona reactor.
According to a report in Yedioth Ahronoth, a few weeks ago, a group of soldiers from the Israeli Air Force went to the Dimona reactor to undergo an on-site security exercise. But after presenting their identifications at the entrance to the highly secure facility, the mission commander informed the group that one officer and two soldiers, all three of them Druze, were not allowed to enter the reactor.
Several soldiers reportedly began to protest the directive, but the officer responded that he had received the order directly from the nuclear research facility.
The three realized that they were most likely denied entry because they were Druze. Several other soldiers offered to wait behind with them on the bus. About thirty minutes later, the Druze received permission to enter the site, but refused to do so in protest.
The story of discrimination, reported on a few weeks after it occurred, made its way to the defense minister, who was shocked to hear the details.
"The Druze are at the core of all IDF activity, their contribution to the State of Israel is impressive and illustrious. We must uproot all such incidents at the nuclear research site," said Ya'alon.
The Druze community was up in arms. Israeli Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif told associates that the incident ran "contrary to the blood alliance between the Druze and Israel."
Former Deputy Minister of Negev and Galilee Development Ayoob Kara said, "The Druze community does not have to prove its loyalty to the state. This is humiliating and shameful."
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit also responded, saying, "The security at the facility and control of entry are managed by a civilian company. The incident will be investigated by the IDF to prevent a recurrence of such cases in the future."