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Israeli Druze wave their community’s flags during a demonstration on June 14, 2015, in reaction to a shoot-out in northwest Idlib province in Syria that killed members of the Druze minority.(Photo credit: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images) Like a number of other ethnic groups in the Middle East, such as the Kurds, the Druze live in several different countries, separated by borders drawn after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1920s.The Institute of Druze Studies estimates that 40-50% of Druze live in Syria, 30-40% in Lebanon, 6-7% in Israel, and 1-2% in Jordan.
This mirrors other religious groups living within the country; only 1% of married Muslims and Christians and 2% of married Jews say their spouse belongs to another religion.For Druze in particular, this lack of religious intermarriage may also be a reflection of the community’s history.Since just after its founding in the 11th century, the Druze tradition has been officially closed off to outsiders and proselytism has been prohibited.Roughly two-thirds say they have a special responsibility to take care of Druze in need around the world.About seven-in-ten Druze (72%) say their religious identity is very important to them.
The oldest and most densely-populated Druze communities exist in Mount Lebanon and in the south of Syria around Jabal al-Druze (literally the "Mountain of the Druzes").