Thursday, March 31, 2016

According to Moshe Arens 30 per cent of Majdal Shams' inhabitants carry Israeli citizenship - really?

Former Israeli defense and foreign minister Moshe Arens states in his recent column at Haaretz that in Majdal Shams on the occupied Golan: 
The Syrian flags are gone and Israeli flags are beginning to appear. Some 30 percent of the Druze residents of Majdal Shams have taken out Israeli citizenship, and the rest of the Druze villages seem to be following suit.
I really wonder where Arens gets those numbers from. The most recent numbers I have seen were cited by i24News (thx to  for the reminder) in February last year. Then the total number of naturalized citizens since 2011 from all four Druze villages on the occupied Golan was 151. Majdal Shams has currently around 8,800 inhabitants according to Wikipedia. Is it realistic that some additional 2,000 (conservatively estimated) have been naturalized over the last year? No.

However, Arens might not be so wrong with his overall message, since, in the context of the war in Syria, a cautious rapprochement by broader segments of the Golan Druze toward Israel seems likely in the longer-term perspective, as I have argued two years ago at Syria In Crisis. The dynamic might be already here but we should not view it out of proportion - it's still limited.

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