Israeli military faces Druze uproar over Jewish nation law

An Israeli soldier guides a group of conscripts at the Tel Hashomer Army Recruitment Center near Tel Aviv on Sunday, July 26. (AFP)
Updated 01 August 2018
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Israeli military faces Druze uproar over Jewish nation law

JERUSALEM: Israel’s military chief is pleading to keep politics out of the army amid protests by the Druze minority against a recently passed law that enshrines the state’s Jewish character.
Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot has called on “all commanders and soldiers to keep controversial political issues” out of the military. In a statement Wednesday, he reaffirmed “our shared mission and camaraderie” with the Druze, an Arabic-speaking minority that serves in the military.
Like other minorities, the Druze have been outraged by the law, which they say renders them second-class citizens.
Two Druze officers recently said they would stop serving in response to it.
The Druze, who follow an offshoot of Shiite Islam, have been fiercely loyal to the state and have risen to high office in the military and politics.


New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

Updated 5 min 49 sec ago
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New social deal signed in Morocco, salaries to rise

  • The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July
  • Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues

RABAT: The Moroccan government on Thursday announced a “new social deal” with employers and the main labor unions, under which many workers will enjoy a pay rise.
The deal agreed by the General Confederation of Moroccan Businesses (CGEM) and the three main unions — the UMT, UGTM and UNMT — is the fruit of months of negotiations
The minimum wage, currently 2,570 dirhams a month ($266), will be increased by 10 percent over two years from July, except for the agricultural sector.
Government-paid family allowances will also rise.
Meanwhile public sector workers will be given a 300-500 dirham monthly pay increase over three years.
Of Morocco’s main trade unions only the Democratic Labour Confederation has not signed the social deal which, according to the government statement, is aimed at “improving spending power and the social climate.”
Last July King Mohammed VI urged the government to take “urgent action” to address social issues, in particular health and education in the north African country which has been hit by protests over employment and corruption.
Mohammed VI pointed to social support and social protection programs that “overlap each other, suffer from a lack of consistency and fail to effectively target eligible groups.”
After months of stalemate, the dossier was handed to the interior ministry at the beginning of the year and the final rounds of talks were held.
The social unrest began in October 2016 after the death of a fisherman and spiralled into a wave of protests demanding more development in the neglected Rif region and railing against corruption and unemployment.
Morocco is marked by glaring social and territorial inequalities, against a backdrop of high unemployment among young people. In 2018, it was ranked 123rd out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index.