The Shmooze

University of Haifa Awards Honorary Doctorate to Druze Spiritual Leader

By Nathan Jeffay

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The name Shaykh Mowafak Tarif probably doesn’t mean much to you. But among Israel’s Druze minority, everybody has heard of him — he is the community’s spiritual leader.

Today he will receive an honorary doctorate at the University of Haifa. There is much excitement about the award in the Druze community, where it is seen as a well-deserved recognition of his contribution to Israeli society.

Tarif, born in Gaza in 1963, is a descendent of the Tarif family, which has been leading the Druze community in Israel since 1753. He inherited the position of spiritual leader from his grandfather Shaykh Amin Tarif in October 1993, and as such, took upon himself responsibility for the community’s holy sites.

He advocates Druze youngsters serving in the Israel Defense Forces, and has worked for the advancement of the Druze community. The University of Haifa decided to award the honorary doctorate “in recognition of his contribution to strengthening equality and his commitment to the State of Israel.”

His award closely follows the award of the state’s highest honor, the Israel Prize, to another leading Druze figure, as reported in the Forward here.


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