According to the Syrian state-run SANA news agency, Damascus has accused Israel of imposing "Judaization" on "Syrians living in the occupied Syrian territories."
According to media reports, hundreds of Druze Arabs tried to block the entrance to the polling place in Majdal Shams, a town with the largest Druze community in the area, earlier in the day. Israeli police used tear gas to disperse the crowd in order the clear a path for voters. The police later confirmed that they used "special means" to disperse hundreds of protesters.
#Hamas called #Druze in #GolanHeights "to take weapons and rebel." For first time, #Israel Interior Ministry allows elections to local authorities in Druze communities in Golan Heights, and local residents call on them not to participate: "Recognition of the Occupation" pic.twitter.com/9lIc4Vb9bk— Eli Dror (@edrormba) October 30, 2018
Municipal Election in Israel
On Tuesday, Israel holds municipal election all across the country, including for the first time in several Druze villages in the Golan Heights. Israelis are electing local councils of deputies and mayors of major cities such as Jerusalem. Many Druze Arabs living in the Golan Heights, a mountainous plateau that came under Israeli jurisdiction in the course of the 1967 Six-Day War, still refuse to recognize Israeli control over these lands and remain loyal to Syrian authorities.
Israeli police say a crowd tried to stop people voting in Majdal Shams in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.— Raf Sanchez (@rafsanchez) October 30, 2018
Israeli local elections are happening there for the first time since 1967 and many Druze are opposed to the vote because they see it as entrenching Israeli control. pic.twitter.com/WqoHro4ZT1
After over a decade of managing the territory through a military administration, Israel de facto annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, adopting a law on extending the country's jurisdiction over the area. This move has not been internationally recognized.
Over 20,000 Druze live in the Golan Heights. Israel is trying to further integrate them and has offered the minority citizenship. However, many locals continue to identify themselves as Syrian nationals.