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March 15, 2013

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 15, 2013 PAGE 15A By Ben Sales MAJDAL SHAMS, Israel (JTA)--At first glance, the iden- tification cards of young Druze men looked identical to those of any Iraefi, with a number, photo, name and address. The only difference is the citizenship line: Instead of listing "Israeli," most of the Druze cards are blank. "If someone takes citizen- ship, he's labeled as an extrem- ist," said Wafa Abusela, 19, sitting with his friends in a cafe in Majdal Shams, a Druze city in the northwest corner of the Golan Heights. "People won't talk to him." A secretive offshoot of Is- lam, the Druze community spans the territory of Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, and their allegiances are similarly fragmented. Druze who live in the Galilee are citizens of the Jewish state, but the Golan Druze rejected offers of citizenship after Is- rael annexed the territory in 1981, retaining their loyalty to Syria. Of the 20,000 Druze living on the Golan, only a small fraction hold Israeli citizenship. There's little evidence to show this is changing. Ac- cording to Interior Ministry As Syrian conflict rages, Druze loyalty to Assad persists figures, 20 Golan Druze requested Israeli citizenship in 2012 - a substantial jump over the two to five that did so annually in previous years, but still a minuscule percentage of the total population. But as the Syrian civil war continues to rage just over theborder, the Golan Druze say they are grateful for l:he stability and security that Is- rael affords--even as they still eschew the idea of becoming citizens, citing pressure from their parents and the fear of reprisals should the Golan ever revert to Syrian control. "A gap between Israel and Syria is standing out now with the civil war," said Shmuel Shamai, a professor at Tel Chai College and the Golan Re- search Institute. "The young people talk about the subject of human rights more, and all the murder happening in Syria, the young people don't identify with it." Young Druze, Shamai said, feel less connected to Syria than their parents, though "they're still not going to be doing pro-lsrael activity." "People understand that there's democracy, that people can say what they want," said a Druze employee of the Inte- rior Ministry, who has Iraeli citizenship but did not give her name because she was not authorized to speak to the media. "People here are happy with Israel. It's good forme here. I was born here." A 25-year-old gas station attendant illustrates the competing claims on Druze loyalty. Recently returned from Syria, he knows the hor- ror stories Unfolding on the other side and feels safer in Israel, where he hopes to begin working soon as a dentist. But loyalty to his family has made adopting Israeli citizenship an 'impossibility. "My father taught me that we axe Syrian," he said. "The feeling is, if you don't want to be Syrian, leave the state. My home is here. My parents are here." Druze are generally loyal to the country in which they live. Unlike Israeli Arabs, many Galilee Druze serve in the Israeli army. But many residents of Ma- jdal Shams consider the Golan to be Syrian and, according to some reports, still support the Assad regime. A few said the rebe are agents of foreign interests--a belief promoted by the Assad regime. "Whoever supports foreign entities doesn't understand Ben Sales/JTA A statue in the middle of the Druze town of Mojdal Shams on the Golan Heights corn- memorating a rebellion against French colonial rule. politics," said Sayed, 43, who was born in Majdal Shams and did not give his last name. "We support the state, and whoever supports the state supports Assad." Despite their divided loyal- ties, the Druze community is often held up as an exemplar of the Jewish state's success in protecting the rights of ethnic minorities, with Jewish tour groups routinely making stops in Druze villages to enjoy local hospitality. "We and the Druze live in full cooperation," said Ori Kalner, deputy head of the Golan Regional Council. Druze contractors have managed much of the Golan's recent construction, Kalner said, and the council is devel- oping a shared industrial park with Majdal Shams. Still, there's a sense among some Druze that Israel's rule over the Golan won't lst forever. The Interior Ministry employee said that fear of an Israeli withdrawal keeps many residents from taking Israeli citizenship or openly suplort- ing the rebels. Residents are Acclaimed filmmaker turns camera scared, she said, that should Assad survive and "come to regain control of the Golan someday, they will be pun- ished for betrayal. "In the end, we'll go to Syria," said Sail Awwad, who says he feels "almost" like an Israeli. "The Golan belongs to Syria." Rafi Skandar disagreed, insisting that parental pres- sure against accepting Israeli citizenship would recede. "In another five years," Skandar.said, "everyone will have Israeli citizenship." . ByPennySrtz,:  .... BOSTON (JTA)--When he was 5 years old, Marian Marzynski'g parents hatched a plan to smuggle him out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Itwas 1942, and Marzynski and his family were among the 400,00 Jews rounded up two years earlier by the Nazis, confined to the 1.3-sq.-mile ghetto in the heart of the city. To stay alive, Marzynski's par- ents warned him, you must forget who you are. That lesson in survival shepherded the young boy over the next three years as he hid from his tormentors, separated from his parents. He eventually became one of the few child survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto. Marzynski (born Marian Kuszner) Would go on to become an Emmy Award- winning documentary film- maker in the United States. Now, 70 years later, after a career in which he made ac- claimed films about Polish Jewry and the Holocaust, Marzynski has trained the camera on himself, telling his own story and those of other survivors in "Never Forget to Lie," a film scheduled for nationwide Irohdcast on April 30 on the PBS series "Frontline." In the hourlong film co- produced with Jason Longo, Marzynski retraces his early years, chronicling his par- ents' secular lives in prewar Warsaw, their confinement in the ghetto, his escape to the Aryan side of the wall, and his jounrey to the CathOlic or- phanage where he embraced life as a dutiful altar boy. With an artful, empathic hand, he tells the stories of other survivors as well, on his own Holocaust experience ........ the United States. : :  January, when he and his howeagertheyweretolzin - "We did not want our son wife were invited to join about this history, and their to have to live the lie that I a group of 560 European perspectiveswerecompletely had to live," he says. high school students and changed. In "Never Forget to Lie," 85 teachers on a trip from "I want non-Jews to know Marzynski ventures for the Tuscany to Poland on the the Holocaust in such a way first time into the forest Treno della Memoria ("train that they can apply it to their where his father was mur- ofmemory'),anItalianHolo- own lives," Marzynski said. dered. The camera lingers causteducationproject.After "This is the job I am doing, on the filmmaker as he holds visitingAuschwitz-Birkenau transferring the Holocaust his father's watch, telling . and seeing his film, many experiencetoanewaudience." viewers that it is the first students approached him, "Never Forget to Lie" will time he is wearing it. For a fascinatedto meet asurvivor, air at10 p.m. Tuesday, April few moments, the otherwise He says he was impressed by 30 on PBS. voluble, opinionated director can hardly speak. 1st Choice00-Iome Companion Services WCBH "It's a quiet moment," Rive lnhisnewfilm, MarianMarzynskireturnstoPolandtoteil said. "There's no swelling "Touching our Customer's lives one at a time" his story and that of other child survivors of the Holocaust. music, nogimmicks.Youca n Best Prices Quality Services see he is moved." capturing their childhood Brandeis University. 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