The article examines the question of how and why the Druze in Israel are defined officially as a 'national' community, separate from Arab-Palestinian citizens. The article reviews the historical record of the Druze-jewish relationship beginning with the pre- 1948 period, and the steps taken by the State to institutionalize the Druze as an ethno-religious community. The conclusion of the article is that the State successfully manipulated the religious identity of the Druze. It was done for purely 'Jewish-Zionist' reasons, in order to preserve the coherence of the hegemonic ethno-republican citizenship discourse. The current undermining of this discourse threatens also to undo the Druze's unique position between Jews and Arabs in Israel.