The Druze are a religious minority in Israel known for their faithful service in the IDF. Now they are becoming known as a new draw for tourists in Israel who are intrigued by the Druze people’s unique culture and cuisine. This fascination is creating new opportunities especially for Druze women, like Ibtisam Fares.
Fares, a white scarf worn loosely around her hair in the traditional Druze fashion, hired two neighbors, both women, to help her cook and serve groups of mostly Israeli Jews who come to visit the town on the weekends. . . .
Fares, who also works as a secretary in the local municipality, is part of a revolution of Druze women who are starting businesses that will not compromise their traditional lifestyle. The Druze, who live primarily in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria, maintain a traditional lifestyle. That means that it is considered inappropriate for religious Druze women to leave their homes to seek employment. But there is no reason the work can't come to them.
Fares is one of dozens of Druze women who are opening home-based businesses in ways that do not compromise their culture. In some cases, the women are the sole breadwinners in the family.
A few blocks from Fares's home in this town of 5,000 that is overwhelmingly Druze, a handful of women sit in a circle crocheting lace. Called Lace Makers, the women meet once a week to work on their projects. The walls are lined with delicate embroidered table cloths and baby clothes the women are selling.