Kickboxing fighter Monia Heno, an Israeli-Druze athlete, advanced to the World Kickboxing Championship semifinals after a win over her Italian opponent last night.
The kickboxing championship tournament began on Tuesday in Albufeira, Portugal.
Heno celebrated her victory by waving the Israeli flag and the flag of the Druze community.
"This competition has a different meaning for all of us. I wanted to bring honor to the country and the community more than ever and prove to the whole world that we continue to be strong despite everything,” Heno said.
“It was important for me to raise the flag of the Druze community in memory of its best sons who recently fell in the war, we will remember them and the rest of the fallen forever.”
The Druze community, which makes up about 2% of Israel’s total population, is very loyal to the Jewish state.
Druze men generally participate in the mandatory military draft at age 18 along with Jewish citizens, and often serve in the Israel Defense Forces with distinction.
Druze soldiers have died fighting for Israel in multiple wars, which has led to Israeli politicians often referring to a “blood covenant” between the Jewish and Druze communities.
At least three Druze soldiers have been killed during the Swords of Iron war since Oct. 7, according to official figures.
Leaders of the Druze community in Israel recently began pressuring the government to grant them more robust legal rights, following the passing of the controversial Nation-State Law.
Last Saturday, the Israeli government announced plans to legislate a basic law giving the Druze minority a special status in Israel.
On Nov. 4, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant visited the Druze village of Yanuh-Jat, which saw two of its soldiers fall in battle during Operation Iron Swords.
Gallant noted their “determination and courage” in fighting the Hamas terror organization.
The Druze community responded immediately after the atrocities of Oct. 7, with some communities arranging meals for soldiers who were called up for reserve duty, cooking meals for soldiers and hosting evacuees from the southern communities affected by the attacks.
In the Druze town of Beit Jann, a group of over 200 Druze women have been working extra shifts to help make vests for the IDF fighters.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.