This thesis examines how the development of nationalism and foundation of nation-states in the Levant have contributed to the development of new national identities among the Druze communities in the Golan Heights and Israel and how it has impacted each community. This study builds on the ideas of Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawm regarding nationalism and the development of the nation as both invented and imagined. This thesis then analyzes the policies of Israel and Syria regarding the Druze communities in the Golan Heights and the question of Druze feelings toward these policies. It also examines how Druze history has been framed in the context of the nation-state. Additionally this work examines how Israel and Syria's policies toward the Druze have created an economic reliance on the state while shaping national identity in the process. It also explores how Syria has facilitated agricultural development by assisting the Druze in the Golan Heights in the apple trade while weighing Israel's neglect of this community. Finally, I discuss the schism that exists between Israeli-Druze who support Israel and those who support Syria and whether or not national identities can be unimagined.


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Perdigon, Sylvain



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Druzes -- Syria -- History.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Druzes -- Israel -- History.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


It has been a pleasure to work on this thesis and I would like to thank the many people who have supported me in this endeavor. I would like to first thank my thesis committee at the American University in Cairo Dr. Sylvain Perdigon, Dr. Pascale Ghazaleh, and Dr. Iman Hamdy for their suggestions, help, and time sacrificed on behalf of this project. Additiolly I would like to Dr. Sherene Seikaly for her advice on this topic and introducing me to other faculty who helped further this endeavor. I am grateful for my parents Jimmie and Ann Stoker for their interest in my work and their constant support throughout my studies. They also sacrificed their time proof reading these chapters for grammar errors and sentences lacking clarity. Also I would like to thank my colleagues who helped give me advice, feedback, and support during the research and writing of this thesis. Filly I would like to thank all of those in Israel and the Golan Heights who agreed to sit down with me and answer my questions relating to this research project.