November 26, 2006 / 5 Kislev 5767
For the first time in the history of the Zionist Movement, the "Friend of the Druze and Circassian Community" Award was granted to the Chairman of the Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization Zeev Bielski, in a festive ceremony that featured leaders of the Druze and Circassian communities.
The Award to Bielski was the initiative of the local Druze and Circassian mayors, in appreciation of the special assistance offered by the Jewish Agency during the Second Lebanon War, and the "Covenant of Life" plan for Jewish-Druze development run by the Zionist Council in Israel.
During the war, the Jewish Agency Chairman risked his own life to visit Druze settlements in the Galilee in order to assist the residents under constant threat of Katyusha rocket attacks.
Since the beginning of the war, the Jewish Agency invested in supporting the non-Jewish sectors in the Galilee, primarily through programs aimed at assisting Druze students and small businesses, encouraging tourism in the area, coexistence projects, and other programs. This was made possible through donations by Jewish communities throughout the world, through United Jewish Communities of North America and Keren Hayesod.
"I am truly pleased that the Jewish People all over the world gave the Jewish Agency the opportunity to assist you during the difficult days of the war, and we will continue our commitment to rebuild and move your communities forward," said Bielski, who was visibly moved by the honor he received.
Mayors, community leader Sheikh Muwaffak Tarīf, and heads of the Zionist Council, which runs educational and informational activities in the Druze sector, attended the event held in Kfar Yanoch (just above Karmiel).