Business Mogul Haim Saban Donates Center for Israeli Druze Soldiers

Cheryl Saban (left), Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman (center) and former Member of Knesset Shachiv Shanan (center, right) watched as FIDF National Board Member Haim Saban (center, left) broke ground at the site of the new FIDF Druze Soldiers Heritage Center. Photo Credit: Scally Photography

Saban traveled to Israel this week to break ground for new Friends of the IDF Druze Soldiers Heritage Center

Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) National Board Member and major supporter Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl attended a groundbreaking ceremony in the northern Galilee earlier this week for a new memorial center for fallen Israeli Druze soldiers. The Sabans are funding construction of the FIDF Druze Soldiers Heritage Center.

Also attending this week’s ceremony were Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman; Sheikh Muwaffak Tarif, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel; and former Member of Knesset Shachiv Shanan, the father of Advanced Staff Sgt. Maj. Kamil Shanan, one of the two Israeli Druze police officers killed by terrorists at the Temple Mount on July 14.

“The Druze community’s reputation is always connected to terms like ‘bravery,’ ‘sacrifice,’ and ‘sanctity of life,’” said Mr. Saban. “To this day, hundreds of Druze soldiers have given their lives protecting Israel. The FIDF Druze Soldiers Heritage Center is the very least we can do to show our gratitude and admiration for their sacrifices. The Druze community deserves its own place that will be a source of pride.”

The new 25,000-square-foot heritage center will tell the story of Druze contributions to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the State of Israel, and serve as both a rest and recreation resource for active-duty and discharged soldiers as well as a memorial for fallen Druze soldiers. The building will include a lobby, a 500-seat auditorium, a gymnasium, a heritage room, classrooms, offices, and a dining hall.

The Druze religious community, a secretive 10th century offshoot of Shiite Islam, is spread mainly across Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel’s Druze population numbers about 130,000. Most Druze proudly serve in the IDF and security forces.

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