At the time of his death Colonel Nabiya Mer’i was the highest ranking Druze officer killed in the course of his Military service. It was the period that followed the Oslo agreements, and Nabiya, who was Commander of the Northern brigade, was sent to implement the Oslo agreements in practice. A sniper’s bullet penetrated his bullet-proof vest and killed him.
After his death, his family decided to honor his memory. On the first floor of his house in the village of Hurfeish a commemoration site and museum was established, managed by retired Colonel Mufid Mer’i, Nabiya’s brother and a regiment commander at Bint-Jbel. The original idea was to establish a place of commemoration for the family, but as soon as it opened up a steady stream of people from all over the country started frequenting it: civilians, soldiers, border guards and students. It became kind of a pilgrimage site.
The heritage center teaches not only about the image of a commander in the IDF, but also about the connection of the Druze Community with the IDF and with the Israeli society.
The visit begins with the screening of a film about the life and legacy of this pioneering man, who was the first Druze to join the paratroops. Leaders of the defense system and IDF commanders, including the minister of defense and chiefs of staff, talk about this man who was a symbol and an example to others. The place holds a display of Mer’i’s various hobbies; photographs; paper clippings; his personal gear, including the bullet-proof vest he wore the day he was killed, showing the hole pierced by the bullet that entered his body; his helmet and his personal weapon.