Exercise of Political and Statal Power by Western Jews in
Israel in the 1950s and 1960s:
Voices from Arabic-Speaking Minorities
Dr Dennis Walker
Left Zionism in East and Central Europe and in Palestine was a superbly-crafted state-instrument to lift working-class and lumpen Yiddish-speaking Jews up to bour­geois status and modernity. The Zionist settlement (Yishuv), kibbutzim (collective farms) and trade unions and their socialist facilities firstly in Palestine then from 1948 in the Jewish state of Israel were designed to offer education, health, empowerment and political power to Ashkenazi Jews. The power that once down-at-heel and bullied Jewish populations from Europe exercised over oriental Jews and Arabs in the state of Israel, though, was not much designed to help those other groups grow in wealth and power.

1: The Ethnic Groups: Oriental Jews in “Israel”
The Jews in the Iraqi-Syrian Fertile Cres­cent, Egypt and the other Arab countries lived in peace and harmony with their Christian and Muslim compatriots for many generations. Syrian-Iraqi Liberalism and tolerance made the Syrian-Iraqi Jews most unwilling to go to the Zionist state. Iraqi Jewish residents in “Israel” charged that the Western Zionists and their em­issaries organized bombing campaigns in Iraq under the monarchy to terrorize Iraqi Jewry into migrating to Israel.
Iraqi and Egyptian Jews charged that the Western Jews who received them in “Israel” had racist attitudes. As a group of Yemeni Jews stepped from their plane the only person waiting for them on the tarmac was dressed in anti-septic medical clothing, wore a sanitary mask and sprayed them with toxic insecticide as though liv­ing in an Arab country had polluted them and made them unclean.
The militant spokesmen for Orien­tal Jews in Israel charged that the white Western Jews in charge of Israeli educa­tion were racists who wanted to decultur­ize and degrade the Oriental children they taught. Post-modern historiography in the West has traced preparedness by Ashke­nazim in the pre-1947 “Yishuv” Settle­ment period, when they needed given land, to for instance end agriculture endeavors by Oriental Jews [See Gabriel Piterberg, ”Domestic Orientalism: The representa­tion of ‘oriental’ Jews in Zionist/Israeli historiography”, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 23:2 1996 pp. 125-45].
Michael Selzer was a militant Oriental Jewish activist in the 1960s. He voiced his rage in an article “The Trouble with Israeli Education” published in the New Outlook of October 1965. He observed bitterly that “the Israeli educational net­work is, evidently, incapable of meeting the educational requirements of children of Oriental Jewish stock whose number (proportionally to the population of their age groups) in secondary schools and at universities are only a half and a quar­ter respectively of what they should be.” Selzer argued that this fact was fraught with the most alarming implications for Israel. It was clear that the identification of “poor and backward” with “Oriental”, so dangerously noticeable in that current generation of immigrants, was already destined to apply to the next generation as well. “The feelings of frustration and discrimination, the tensions and hostilities generated by this phenomenon, so inimi­cal to the healthy evolution of Israeli so­ciety are, it seems, likely to continue as an enduring feature of Israel’s social scene. The fire under the Israeli educational melting pot is flickering dangerously". As regarded Western Zionist educationalists “we find a kind of white man’s burden. Norman Bentwich’s cultural ethnocen­trism and that of the educational system of which he writes is no less than fantas­tic.”
Selzer wanted an educational system in “Israel” that would transmit literary Ara­bic to new generations of Oriental Jews, but he feared he was writing in vain. “It is indicative of the way the Ministry of Education is preserving the image of each community that, apart from the evidence presented above, three percent of Israel’s Jewish school children are currently learn­ing Arabic”. For Selzer, literacy in Arabic would give young oriental Jews access to their own ethnic heritage and to the wide Arab world. “Hebrew University's John Dewey School of Education announced that it was launching a large research proj­ect to discover ways in which Oriental children ‘might better be adapted to the Western orientation of Israel’s school program’”. In response to this cultural genocide, Selzer observed bitingly that “Israelis are avid cultural pluralists - but only in defending the rights of Soviet Jewry or in persuading American Jews not to 'assimilate' ". In Israel itself, the ruling Western white Jewish minority mercilessly crushed the discrete cultures of all other ethnic groups.
The greatest pain was that felt by the Oriental Jewish intellectual “graduating (despite obstacles) from high school and perhaps university and forced to the ex­plicit realization that his own identity and that of his ancestors has no validity in the state of Israel, and that his only hope is to renounce his own identity still further and to assume the habit of the European Jew. Israel’s education system is playing a major part in ensuring the new generation will feel no less alienated and resentful. It is not only perpetuating the communal clash, but is placing it on a more profound and permanent basis”.
A few bolder Israelis charged with “hy­pocrisy” the Israeli governments that until 1973 sent developmental experts to Black African countries while leaving Oriental Jewish migrants to vegetate in squalor in Israel itself. One such critic was David Hardom, who in 1965 wrote that “the word, backwardness, gave me a shock”. "He was quite right, of course: back­wardness, in our own backyard. We send people without end to faraway countries in Asia and Africa - instructors, doctors, engineers, scientists, teachers, all kinds of experts. There is less of a rush to go to the backward immigrant settlements in Galilee and in the south - and where are the people who will bring develop­ment and progress to the Arab villages amongst us?” [David Hardon: “Meeting With Young Arabs”, New Outlook March 1965 pp 37-38].
The Israel government kept some ori­ental Jews caged up without jobs in its squalid mavarot(transit camps) for as long as seven years, dependent on meager state charity. One alarmed article published in Zionist media in the West (including Aus­tralia) was "Jewish Gap Widens" from the Tel Aviv office of the Jewish Telegraph Agency. "The education gap between Ash­kenazic and Sephardic Jews in Israel has widened in recent years and Sephardim even lag behind Israeli Arabs in academic degrees, according to a survey by Dr. Yaa­kov Nahon of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies".
Nahon found that only 6.1 per cent of Sephardic Jews between the ages of 30-35 had attended institutions of higher learn­ing by the mid-1980s compared to 28.3 per cent of Ashkenazi Jews in the same age bracket. Among young Arabs, 8.8 per cent held bachelor degrees as opposed to 6.1 per cent of Sephardic Jews. According to Nahon the gap was narrower for the older generation, where 2.7 per cent of Sephardim had an academic background compared to 10.7 per cent of Ashkenaz­im [”Jewish gap widens”, Australian Jewish News 9 October 1987].
Although the Israeli system being con­structed basically strove to segregate Jews and Arabs in the 1950s and 1960s, Orien­tal Jews still saw a lot of their Muslim and Christian fellow speakers of Arabic. Some orientals literate in Arabic became teachers in the segregated school system that the Jewish state developed for Arabs. At least some Jewish educationalists in the “Arab” schools had a sincere drive to advance their students. This desire was marked in several of Iraqi and other oriental Jewish extraction, themselves members of an ethnic group itself discriminated against and impoverished by the policies of the ascendant Ashkenazi Western Jewish elite dominant in Israel. Such oriental educa­tionalists privately made clear to “Arab Is­raelis” that they should not expect much for their children from the governmental school system for the foreseeable future.
The early 1970s saw the explosion of the “Black Panthers” protest movement among Oriental Jewish teenagers grow­ing up in slums, against the Israeli system. There were quite a few street rumbles, and some repudiation of any possibility of humane community with European Jews, as instanced in the name the Panthers took for themselves from the USA’s Black Panthers who were themselves ironized by U.S. Black nationalists as those inte­grationists who knocked on the doors to America with TV prime-time rifles. Alfred Friendly, perhaps an American Reform Jew, hoped the “Shared Jewishness”, and the commitment of the Orientals to the common military front with the Western Jews against the Arab states, would carry Israel over the widening cracks that the Black Panthers had revealed. An integrat­ing Jewish nationality would be construct­ed. “The notion that Jews from Arab lands, soon to become the numerical ma­jority, will eject their ‘imperialist’ exploit­ers, re-embrace the ways of their former [Arab] homelands and make common cause with the Arabs” would be exposed as the idiotic fantasy of a Fatah public re­lations man [[Alfred Friendly, Israel’s Orien­tal Immigrants and Druze’s. London: Minor­ity Rights 1972 pp. 21-22]]. There was a point in the 1970s at which the ideological affect of the new generation of Oriental Jews to the Israel state was in flux. But the ageing governing elite around the La­bour Party moved quickly and flexibly to offer concessions before the point of no return was reached and Oriental Jews and Western ones really did start fighting and killing each other.

The “Arab Minority”
By the time that the first Arab-Israeli war had finished and the state of Israel had been established, most educated Arab people had fled: apart from remnants in Haifa no urban elite remained. The Pales­tinian minority that remained in the Jewish State was around 10%. By the mid-1980s, it had grown to about 700,000.
Military government was not lifted from the Arab villages until 1970. It had been imposed after the Hatzmaut (Inde­pendence) of the Jewish State ostensibly for “security reasons”, but it was more an instrument by successive Labor Govern­ments to achieve two main arms:

1. Confiscate Arab lands at derisory compensation rates. By pleading “security reasons” the army could override even the Israeli Supreme Court.
2. Elections. The “Arab-Israeli commu­nity”, under the Israeli army’s control and direction, regularly voted heavily for Ma­pai’s Arab candidates despite grass roots hatred in Arab villages for that Labor Par­ty, that was confiscating their lands.

With most Arab villages under mili­tary rule following the birth of Israel, a number of factors combined enabled the Israeli Authorities to isolate, demoralize and silence individuals among the Arab-Israeli minority who reacted with criticism to the Jewish state’s meager facilities. That the state was progressively stripping the minority of especially its landed property made its economic conditions so much more shaky and insecure. Israeli officials and military found it easy to intimidate into compliance ordinary Arabs whom any nudge would at once propel into the ruin that threatened them daily. An impartial and first-hand account of the conditions of Arabs in Israel was giv­en by the Nigerian traveler Olabisi Ajala in his book An African Abroad (London: Jarrolds 1963).
He visited Taiba village, one of the more advanced of the Arab settlements in Israel. "It was thirty five miles off the main highway, over a dusty stony road. The general condition of the village was disgusting. Barbed wire encircled the en­tire place. The first impression I got was that of a bombed area, neglected and un­inhabited. Yet human beings lived here".
"There was no fresh water, pump, clinic or even an elementary school. The nar­row lanes of the village, not proper streets, were untarred. Not a single dwelling had electricity. Falling and dilapidated houses with leaking roofs dominated the scene. I saw dirty, naked children playing a game of hide-and-seek as they dashed from one house to another. This was a sight of hor­ror and poverty at its worst."
The only presentable building in the village was the newly built police station. Lingering on its steps were a number of Arabs, over whom stood Israeli soldiers, brandishing rifles.
"An ageing, leading member of the community, whose name I cannot dis­close, unhappily commented: 'Before we were brought here, most of us were living in our own homes and on farms in the richer parts of Palestine. Then the Jews captured our land and here we are, living like cattle. Our mosques were burnt to the ground by the Jews. Our houses were destroyed and valuable property was con­fiscated. We became homeless and help­less. Today we are living on the border of starvation not knowing where our next meal will come from ... We can't use the land around here for farming, and the po­lice watch us all the time’ ".
Ajala saw segmentation and atomization typical of totalitarian race-states. The old Arab told him that they were not allowed to visit other villages or see their rela­tives around them. "Special permission is needed from the police before anyone can leave the village to buy food. We also have to be accompanied by two Jewish policemen to the city when we have any reason to go there" (pp. 175-6).
A Negev bedouin, Abdul-Muhammad Dahi, told Ajala that "he and the members of his tribe were shipped like a herd of goats from Bersheeba and taken to a re­mote area where there was no farms and the land was not fertile. 'We live in camps, tents and broken houses surrounded by barbed wire'."
Israel’s development of Galilee was at the expense of rural “Arabs”/Suraqiyyans. The founding of new towns for Jews was in part crafted to forestall the local Pales­tinians from again becoming a majority of the population through natural increase. 5023 dunams of land were confiscated from the citizens of the villages of Dayr al-Asad and Ba’na to build the new town of “Carmiel”. The local Arabs protested vehemently but futilely against the Israeli government’s drive to reduce them to a landless proletariat that, lacking property, would be locked into menial jobs for the long term. “As a result of the expropria­tion of our lands, the economic basis of our lives has been undermined and is now insecure. We discern signs that the Gov­ernment’s intention for further expropria­tions has not changed, while most of the workers in our villages have not yet ob­tained adequate and permanent employ­ment, either in Carmiel itself or outside it. We think that the scheduled develop­ment of Carmiel can be carried out with the land already at the disposal of the au­thorities, without having to use our farm­ing lands, expropriated orchards and olive groves.”
Many Jewish Israelis in the pre-1967 period looked down with disdain on the Arab minority as uneducated common day laborers. How to raise the status of Arabs in the eyes of their Jewish compatriots? ‘Atallah Mansur, the Haaretz daily’s cor­respondent for local Arab affairs, in 1965 favored an almost America-like mecha­nism that was already underway. “I believe that the Arabs of Israel, who have no me­dia of communication to allow them to prove their existence to the general public of the country and whose youth have no local personalities with which to identify and applaud, are entitled to build up the image of their sportsmen” [New Outlook April-May 1965 p. 54].
This 1965 item showed that the position of the Arab minority in Israel resembled that of Negroes in the United States in an earlier period. The decrepit buildings, with their lack or shortage of textbooks, from which Israeli administrations edu­cated their “Arab” citizens, were like the crumbling shacks from which succes­sive American governments did the bare minimum to teach Negro children and adolescents to read and write in the 1920s and 1930s. Israel’s Arab citizens, though, have always been denied the autonomous educational institutions, however impov­erished, that blacks had always been al­lowed to maintain in the USA, especially at a tertiary level. The Black Muslims were the main African-American group to found private primary and secondary schools there, with initial closures and unremitting security surveillance thereaf­ter from the U.S. system. But there had been tertiary “black” colleges and univer­sities enabled to carry on by the largesse of Anglo and Jewish Americanist philan­thropists. Mansur’s 1965 identification of sports as one of the few points available then through which Israel’s Arabic mi­nority could build self-esteem, win some recognition from the Jewish public and, hopefully, even start to get into Israel’s Jewish mainstream, was a parallel with Afro-Americans. Also like one variety of American Negro leaders was the almost apologetic one-step-at-a-time moderation with which Atallah Mansur as an Israeli journalist over decades sought integra­tion for his race into an Israeli community in which few wanted many Arabs in the neighborhood or workplace.
Many Jewish Israelis in the pre-1967 period looked down with disdain on the Arab minority as uneducated common day laborers. How to raise the status of Arabs in the eyes of their Jewish compatriots? ‘Atallah Mansur, the Haaretz daily’s cor­respondent for local Arab affairs, in 1965 favored an almost America-like mecha­nism that was already underway. “I believe that the Arabs of Israel, who have no me­dia of communication to allow them to prove their existence to the general public of the country and whose youth have no local personalities with which to identify and applaud, are entitled to build up the image of their sportsmen” [New Outlook April-May 1965 p. 54].
This 1965 item showed that the position of the Arab minority in Israel resembled that of Negroes in the United States in an earlier period. The decrepit buildings, with their lack or shortage of textbooks, from which Israeli administrations edu­cated their “Arab” citizens were like the crumbling shacks from which succes­sive American governments did the bare minimum to teach Negro children and adolescents to read and write in the 1920s and 1930s. Israel’s Arab citizens, though, have always been denied the autonomous educational institutions, however impov­erished, that blacks had always been al­lowed to maintain in the USA, especially at a tertiary level. The Black Muslims were the main African-American group to found private primary and secondary schools there, with initial closures and unremitting security surveillance thereaf­ter from the U.S. system. Mansur’s 1965 identification of sports as one of the few points available then through which the minority could build self-esteem and, hopefully, even start to get into Israel’s Jewish mainstream, was a parallel with Afro-Americans. Also like one variety of American Negro leaders was the almost apologetic one-step-at-a-time moderation with which Atallah Mansur as an Israeli journalist over decades sought integra­tion for his race into an Israeli community in which few wanted many Arabs in the neighborhood or workplace.

Segregated Statal Education for Arabs
At the end of the 1950s, government spokesmen boasted that “Israel” had dou­bled the number of Arab primary schools: ”a school was to be found in almost every village; there was one pupil for every five Arab inhabitants, compared with one in every fifteen under the Mandate.” Pro­jecting a benevolent image in the world, the “Israeli” government promulgated a law that made “school attendance com­pulsory for both sexes and both races between the ages of five and fourteen” [David Schwarz, The Arabs in Israel (Lon­don: Faber and Faber 1959) p. 76]. But the Jewish state’s expansion of the number of schools in the surviving Arab villages took place in the context of its progres­sive confiscation under Military Rule of those villages’ holdings of agricultural land. The aim of the schools, somewhat akin to the Department of Bantu Educa­tion in South Africa in the same period, was to produce Arabs who would have the smattering of Hebrew and the semi-literacy in Arabic that would equip them to function as laborers in marginal strips of the Israeli economy not reserved for the Ashkenazi European labor aristocracy. As their landed property shrank, Arab vil­lages had to bear the financial burden of the educational system the Jewish state offered. Schwarz made a system tailored to perpetuate the ascendancy of the Ash­kenazi labor aristocracy and bourgeoisie sound accidental, ”a matter of social de­velopment rather than government poli­cy.” Yet most developments in society in the first decades of Israel’s existence were intricately planned and directed by the Mapai Ashkenazi leadership dyed with Marxism.
The Israeli system that was under con­struction in the 1950s demanded that ru­ral communities it was stripping of their landholdings fund all, or (as the minority mustered resistance) a large portion of, the costs of what government education was being delivered at village level. In the early years of the State, a poll-tax for edu­cation was levied on every citizen over the age of eighteen. After bitter protests - the tax hit large, poor families disproportion­ately, ie. Arabs and Oriental Jews - it was abolished and fund-raising for education was left in the hands of an “education committee” in each village. The govern­ment paid the teachers’ salaries, the ‘com­mittee’ had to look after the building and equipment. Naturally, the village com­mittees often left much to be desired: at Ein Mahel, on a cold January day, not one window of the school was intact and no one saw any prospect of raising money to replace them [Schwarz p. 117].
In the 1950s and 1960s, the “Israeli” state allocated such meager resources to educate the Arab minority under its rule that the prospects for its gainful integra­tion into the country’s social and econom­ic mainstream could only remain bleak for a long time. For the first two decades of Israel’s existence, the state failed to print an overall set of Arabic text books for the segregated Department of Arab Educa­tion schools, with the result that in many classes the teacher had to write up pages from a single antiquated text-book that had survived from the period of the Brit­ish Mandate: the pupils then would hand-write the book section from the black board into their own exercise books. In subjects where this was the pattern, Arabs pupils hand-wrote their own textbooks over the years. These were not print-texts from which Arab children and adolescents would learn speed-reading.
Odd textbooks that the Israeli govern­ment did produce in Arabic for the Arab pupils segregated in their separate system could not teach basic literacy in the Arabic language. Most letters in Arabic have four forms, yet the first Arabic reader gave the letters joined together in the first lesson, before it taught the alphabet: Arab teach­ers had to abandon that official textbook altogether and to take to writing the les­sons on the blackboard - there was no preliminary textbook that the Arab chil­dren could read. Schwarz found in 1959 that in the higher grades of many elemen­tary schools no Arabic, no geography and no history textbooks were available at all [Schwarz p. 117]. This dearth of printed Arabic reading-matter in Israeli schools cost many individuals in two genera­tions of Arab Israelis the chance to have achieved literacy by the time they dropped out of the educational system around fourteen. Children left the schools with­out being able to read a newspaper in Ara­bic [Schwarz p. 116]
The self-image of the Ashkenazi Jew­ish officials who directed Israel’s special Arab education, though, was that they were energetic revolutionaries. “You can’t revolutionize an educational system in a day,” said Mr. Samuel Salomon, Director of Arab Education. “The problem of textbooks is terrible - the only answer is to produce our own; Egyptian ones are unreliable for us. Naturally, re-writing the books takes time, and we have to make use of what talent there is among the Ar­abs” [Schwarz, p. 117].
Thus, the Israeli educationalists had not provided printed books in Arabic that would have enabled a new generation of Arabs who in legal status were Israel’s own citizens to build literacy. But the Jew­ish officials shifted the responsibility for the shortfall onto outside Arab states that had no diplomatic relations with Israel and which were themselves hard-pressed to expand their production of textbooks to catch up with the galloping increase of their own populations. They ascribed the lack of Arabic textbooks in many subjects to the slowness of purchasing Egyptian government textbooks indirectly from Cy­prus. This was an extraordinary argument even at the close of the 1950s. The pat­tern of Arab Israeli classrooms with few textbooks for the pupils to read persisted. In the early 1980s young Arab Israeli emi­grants to Australia reported that they had just passed through primary and second­ary education still of that thin pattern.
Many Israeli Arabs refused to offer loy­alty to a state which they perceived did not offer non-Jews the bases for life in the modern world. One unmistakable commu­nication of this Arab response took place in 1965 at a height of self-congratulation among Israeli educationalists that, 17 years after the establishment of the state of Is­rael, “we are approaching the final stage of a prolonged effort: the publication of completely new Arabic text books for Israeli Arab Government Schools to re­place the Mandate-period Arabic books.” The Arab staff, intellectuals and printers associated with the Israeli government’s effort had, though, registered a protest that denied the Jewish state’s legitimacy: ”The Arab Department of the Ministry (of Education) is now in the process of correcting last year’s mistake with regard to the textbooks in Geography for the various classes. Only after the publication last year of Dr. Paporiseh’s work in Ara­bic and when copies had already been sent out to Arab schools, was it discovered that all but two maps in the book carried empty white spaces where the name Israel should have been inscribed”.
This incident certainly cast an unflatter­ing light on the linguistic skills of Jewish officials who controlled Arab education in Israel - that they had not noticed. The ge­ography textbook protest asserted Pales­tinian territorial nationality, bracketing the territory of pre-1967 Israel with the West Bank, the aggregate that had comprised the mandatory Palestine under the British [See New Outlook April-March 1965 pp. 67-68].
The 1950s and 1960s saw the increased gravitation of university students in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon to mod­ern science, trades, and studies in applied technology, away from the study of lit­erature and the humanities. The Arabist military regimes considered themselves as installers of the science of modernity and its Progress: they mustered considerable resources to widen the teaching of sci­ences and technical skills to their subjects. The facilities and policies that the Israeli governments offered ensured that the Is­raeli Arab minority would be left out of this shift in Middle East education, at least to the 1980s.
The situation in Israeli Arab higher edu­cation was discussed gloomily by Butrus Abu-Muna in his article “Spotlight on Arab Students” (New Outlook March 1965 p. 45). According to Abu Muna, “the majority of Arab students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem study the hu­manities, social sciences and law, since the Arab grammar schools don’t have science streams --- with the exception of one in Nazareth.” The mutual segregation of Arabs and Jews, so characteristic of pri­mary and secondary education in Israel, was evident in higher education: “Arab students take no part in the activities or­ganized by the Students’ Union (except in the ‘Students’ Parliament’) and it is amaz­ing that the student bodies have ignored this fact for nearly 10 years. If no contact between the two peoples can be created at the University where and when will it be created?”
“The opportunities for employment in government and other public institutions are severely limited, for even the depart­ments concerned with the administration of the Arab population are closed to edu­cated Arabs - including those with a Uni­versity degree. The gravity of the problem has not been appreciated until now be­cause the number of graduates was very small and they were absorbed somehow - albeit not in jobs they would have chosen or which were suitable in their qualifica­tions” concluded Abu Muna.
Immediately after the Six Day War of 1967, a correspondent of the London Economist visited Israel and filed a first-hand, insightful, account of the plight of Israel’s Arab minority, with spot-on atten­tion to education. The correspondent did find that the elementary schools were im­proving with attendance “high”: 80% for boys, 50% for girls aged 6-14 in the Mus­lim and Druze communities. But the re­porter assessed the secondary schools as still inadequate to prepare Arab students for the modern and professional sectors of Israeli life: 80% of pupils were failing the baccalaureate exam each year, because of poor teachers and lack of facilities and textbooks in Arabic.
The reporter’s overview of the share of Israeli Arabs in tertiary education made grim reading. “University places for Arabs are scarce and expensive - in 1966 only 180 “Arabs and Druzes” attended the Hebrew university, which had altogether 5,748 undergraduates; there are even smaller proportions at the Israel Institute of Technology at Haifa and Tel Aviv Uni­versity. “The correspondent reported that Arab secondary school graduates have great difficulty in finding white-collar jobs: Arabs form only 2½% of the civil service although they represent 11% of the population. A teaching job is usually the best prospect; others are manual labor or the coffee house existence” in which a large proportion of educated Arab Is­raelis vegetated after they won qualifica­tions against the odds within Israel’s social and educational system, in that state’s first quarter-century.
Marginally more positive were the writ­er’s impressions of the Arab minority’s participation, marginalized and intricately controlled though most of it was at that point, in the Israeli parliamentarist politi­cal system. “Of the present handful of Arab members of the Knesset, a few ran on the separate Arab lists of the govern­ment Mapai party, while the rest belong to the left wing Labor Party, Mapam and the Communist Party. Along with the splin­ter reform group Haolam Hazeh (‘New Force’) which alone advocates the return of all the refugees, Mapam and commu­nists are the only Israeli parties which ac­cept direct Arab membership”.
The correspondent also had the impres­sion that “Arab graduates, especially teach­ers, are constantly asked to spy on each other.” Young Israeli Arab immigrants in Australia with whom I interacted there after 1965 told me that the Israeli state’s totalitarian efforts through its Shin Bet intelligence to make children inform on their parents, and pupils to inform on their class-mates, were a primary consideration in their decision to leave: they could never hope to win through to a semblance of relaxed ordinary life with modest hopes, under Israel’s Ashkenazi Orwellian gover­nance, they had early assessed.
The Israeli governments' policy of starving the segregated Arab schools of text-books, funds, and even buildings in which to hold classes persisted over the decades. The “Communist” al-Ittihad for years provided the main rostrum for com­plaints. In 1980 Muhammad 'Abri Nassar, Chairman of al-'Arrabah's local council, vented the anger of the Arab minority in Israel at the state's failure to build class­rooms for Arabs. "It would be pointless to yet once again state the lethal shortage of buildings and classrooms which on the Ministry of Education's own admission has now reached 1,300 rooms. It would be equally inane for the Government to keep on talking about the grant of 80 mil­lion Israeli lira released for this year when it was really supposed to have been allo­cated for last year and has now lost more than half its real value" (through infla­tion). "Nor do we stand to get anything in the end as the Government talks on about releasing any portion of what the Minister called 'the Reduced Emergencies Budget' which has no actual existence. Our central demand is that [the Israeli Government] meet the deficit and draw up a properly studied and scheduled plan to solve the problem within a period not exceeding five years. We will not be satisfied with an admission of the problem and declara­tions of good intentions. Until today... we have not heard of any practical decision to solve this problem". [Muhammad 'Abri Nassar to al-Ittihad , “We will Not Feel Any Reassurance Before we See Realistic Solutions to the Crisis of Arab Educa­tion", al-Ittihad 15 June 1980 p. 6].
Muhammad ‘Abri Nassar certainly voiced deep mistrust of Jewish officials in the Ministry of Education. He had an ex­tremely militant tone. But he had closely studied the Israeli educational system and he wanted not to destroy it but to get the “Israeli Arabs” into it. This stance was representative of the Communist and oth­er leftist legal Arab minority groups that opposed the armed struggle demanded by outside Palestinian nationalism. Nassar implicitly was prepared to play the game of Israel’s Labour Party establishment if it adjusted the rules of its games to accom­modate a few vital needs of the Arab mi­nority. This stance of those who worked within the structures and procedures of the Left in Israel contrasted with under­ground Nasserite nationalist, Sa’adeh pan-Syrian and Islamic “fundamentalist” groups among Israeli Arabs that tended more to challenge the legitimacy of the Israeli state itself. But by 1980 the Islamist Arab elements were making themselves the true heart-and-soul of the Arabic masses’ resistance to the “infidel” - and as they perceived racist - values propagated within Israeli education.
The Israeli system would think thirty times before antagonizing the Russians by abolishing the Communist Party that praised it so. It allowed the Rakah Com­munists’ al-Ittihad to function as a forum of complaints and controlled verbal pro­test by the minority. Other sectors of Arabic life that were basically instruments of the Zionists system’s mental manipula­tion of the Arab minority nonetheless did evolve slowly towards a deformed plural­ism. The Arabic newspapers that carried the viewpoints of the Israeli system in­cluded al-Yawm and al-Ariba’. They some­times amounted to more than the simple propaganda forums that the Rakah Arab Communists denounced: they did carry some objections and some letters of pro­test from members of the Arab minority.
Arab intellectuals in Israel, especially those connected in some fashion to pro-Soviet Communism (whatever one is to make of that shelter), have been acutely aware that Israeli Jews are given far more scope to voice diverse and critical views, including about the system, than are sub­jects in the various Arab-World regimes. The fate of Communists in Egypt, ‘Iraq and Syria was not good, although there was more input from them into a de­formed pluralism under those military regimes than pro-Israel propagandists al­lowed. To a lesser extent than for Jews, Arab citizens in the pre-1967 borders also had and have a real margin for frank print-speech at least, and other institutions evolved in which they could register some complaints. But Israel’s Arabic intellectu­als see freedom of expression in Israel as ambiguous as to the effects it might have. That some Ashkenazi Jewish writers have exposed injustices and atrocities by Israel against Palestinians from 1947 onwards could cause some Israelis to move away from those patterns in an access of self-reflective morality. (Could reconciliation between the two peoples come one day?) Yet, as was the case in South Africa, lib­eral and left exposees could habituate the print-consumers to those patterns that cleanse out or segregate the group that was born in a different religion. Getting it out in the open can make dispossession the unblinking accepted norm for some who had drawn a decent curtain over ex­pulsion, segregation and resources-denial and resources-seizure, in their psyches.

Spatial Constriction
Israeli courts kept the rapidly increasing minority population hemmed in within the existing housing. The courts could slap savage fines even for minor exten­sions of existing buildings: in 1980 the al-Afulah court fined villager 'Ali Mahmud Darawish 100,000 shekels for adding a 74 square meter building to his private house, immemorially the property of his forefathers and within the precincts of Aksal village. ["Gharamat Bina' Bahizah fi Aksal" (Severe Building Fines in Aksal), al-Ittihad 15 July 1980 p. 3].
Until the late 1950s, Arab citizens in Is­rael were not members of the Histadrut trade union federation, which provided essential social services. The Histadrut was a well-run quasi-socialist institution developed by the Zionist nationalists to lift ill-educated Ashkenazi Jews up to the status of a skilled labor aristocracy and then make of them a new bourgeoisie. However, a fair number of Arab “Com­munists” in Israel wanted to extend and expand it into a neutral institution that would deliver the same skills, good health and upward social mobility to Arabic-speaking Muslims and Christians. Items in the Israeli Communist Party’s al-Ittihad plaintively pleaded for the skeletal His­tadrut presence in the Arab areas of the countryside to be made into real clubs with real libraries, not half a dozen books, that would be open all through the week.
Rural Arabic populations at village level were structurally dysfunctional, fractured and weak. Live ammunition was fired at weddings from antique rifles, and village clan killings and vendettas were often publicized in the Israeli Communist Par­ty’s newspaper al-Ittihad.
The divided and authoritarian nature of Palestinian rural mini-societies, as well as decimation and exhaustion from the Pal­estinian national uprising against Britain in the 1930s, had set up a situation where they might not offer very engaged and skilled resistance to the establishment of Israel. Once their leaderships were de­capitated, they might flee. The shaky inte­gration of the little worlds of the villages continued in the period of the Israel state. The Arab Communists tried to set up a network of rural clubs.
Successive Israeli governments jailed circles of bourgeois Arab nationalists as soon as they started to form circles. How­ever, Israel allowed an Israeli Communist Party as a sort of insurance policy or re­sidual bridge that it maintained towards the Soviet Union after it opted for the USA after Independence, relinquishing any neutralism. Overall the Party would be a safety-valve to vent but control and dampen the Arab minority’s anger at the continuous process of its segregation and dispossession by the State.

2: The (Pseudo?)-"Communist" Arab Opposition
The Israeli Communist Party provided real structures within which the Arabic minority was able to get itself together in a modern way. Up until the mid-1970s, the Party never became genuinely popu­lar among young Muslim “Israelis”, who regarded it as an auxiliary of the Zion­ist system. During the fleeting period of Egypt’s statal unity with the country in 1958-1961, Nasser persecuted the Com­munist party in Syria. Thus, in 1961 some of Israel’s Arab Communists, in formal words at least, welcomed the break-up of the UAR, however they phrased their joy. As a result of their stand, the vote for Communists plummeted in the Knesset and in local elections in Israel, as Mus­lim villagers retaliated against the Party’s stance (London Times 1961).
The Israeli Communist Party recruit­ed such ambiguous protest intellectuals as Samih al-Qasim and Mahmud Dar­wish, both of whom penned poetry that throbbed with a spirit of nationalist resis­tance. While there were some leaders and party members touched by Marxism, the Party was a sanctuary for Arab national­ist and Nasserite, intellectuals. There was Palestinian particularism vowed “will mar­ry a blonde, blue-eyed, Phoenician girl” (1968: Lebanese army already using artil­lery against Fatah in South Lebanon and Lebanese of all groups and parties were to suffer. The Israeli Communists Party drew support from Christians and Sunni Muslims. Druze have collaborated with Israeli entity, gaining some social services and modest benefits by the mid-1970s.

Toying With Integration into Israel as Proletarians
The harsh repression of Arab national­ists and then Islamists in Israel after the 1948 Hatzma'ut ("Independence") forced many malcontented Arabs to gather with­in the frame of the Israeli Communist Party. In 1967,in the wake of the 6-day war, the Israeli Communist party split into (a) the (heavily Arab) Rakah Commu­nist Party and (b) the mainly Jewish Maki Communists led by Moshe Sneh. Despite the split, Israeli Communist life thereafter retained an incestuous flavor clear in all the invective the Arab "Communists" di­rected against Dr Moshe Sneh "the apos­tate Doctor". A few Jewish communists opted for the Rakah and became mem­bers, contributing to the polemics against Sneh and his colleagues - these Arabs and Jews had all known each at close quarters for years: only, nationality split them.
The Arab "Communists" could not but admire the collectivist institutions and the state socialism that might make Israel successful and strong. During the 1970 debates about a state budget in the Knes­set (parliament) the Arab communists evinced respect for the Histadrut general federation of trade unionists, normally partners of the governments of the Ma­pai (Labor Party).
As well as its integrationist ameliorist detail, the discourse of the Arab Com­munists at a 1970 budget session had at the same time a broad thrust concerned with foreign policy. It protested against "America's aggression in Vietnam and Cambodia" - and demanded a halt to the bloodshed in the Middle East and the es­tablishment of a just peace between Israel and the Arab countries on the basis of Is­rael withdrawing from the territories it oc­cupied in 1967 under the UN resolutions. Thus, the Arab delegates were opposed to the discreet expansionist nationalism of elements in the Israeli Labor govern­ment now building Greater Israel by in­crements. They were, though, looking for integrationist Jewish partners within or on the margin of the system: the item noted that an Arab correspondent Na'im Gil`adi of Uri Aveniri's "Canaanist" magazine Ha-Olem Hazeh had in his speech called for dialogue and friendship between the two peoples, and the establishment of progress and elected workers' councils in Arab villages.
Desperate need on that Israeli land­scape made some watery-Communist “Arabs” hope that some Ashkenazi Jewish proletarians might not be too bad. Rakah representative Jamal Musa [ICP Central Committee] depicted that the masses of workers and trade unionists had rejected the comprehensive accord that, in con­junction with inflation and rising taxes, lowered their wages. His speech depicted most of the Histadrut leadership as op­posed to the vital interests of its mem­bers, yet he also voiced a more sympa­thetic image of that leadership as caving before intense pressure from the govern­ment and from a faction of the Histadrut to the right of Secretary Ben Aharon. The government had started by placing Arab communists under house detention, but might arrest the Secretary of the His­tadrut one day. Musa urged the Histadrut to stand at the side of strikes lately called by such mainly Jewish unionists as the stevedores. Musa does seem to have had some faint hope that ordinary Ashkenazi Jewish trade unionists might break with the Israeli government's occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Go­lan given that the resultant military needs were now draining away so much money from social welfare budgets.
"Our [Rakah Communist] party has to clarify that this struggle between Labor and Capital plays a great role in the cur­rent functioning of the Histadrut. The Histadrut currently functions as a means to implement the anti-worker policy of the Government, but there are possibili­ties that it might become the reverse of that so that it stands not against the work­ers but at their side, as happened recently in the courts and in the car assembly com­pany and in the electricity company and elsewhere. This situation is a result of war and occu­pation that ceaselessly swallow up larger and larger sums from the budget. We have to see that the Government and the ma­jority of the leadership of the Histadrut are planning legal measures to limit the workers' struggle, to damage their Union rights. We see today orders for house ar­rests against striking workers, and to bring the workers of Ashdod port to trial: these are signs that resistance to anti-worker policies is increasing". Despite (or in) these feelers to Jewish workers, the pro­gram of the Party for the Histadrut elec­tions tried to detail discrimination against Arab workers.
In its integrationist mode, al-Ittihad pro­tested in mid-1970 against the ambiguous conclusion of a drawn-out controversy about the wish of Arabs to become mem­bers in the ruling Mapai Labour party. The Party had taken a decision to accept Arabs and Jews serving in the army as members. An Israeli vice-president declared that "security considerations prevent Arab citi­zens being accepted as members of the Labour party at present." al-Ittihad noted furiously that the Labour party had lately jettisoned its Socialist slogans even in the Israeli mainstream. Its decision expressed the real abiding ideology of semi-racist Zionist chauvinism that had motivated it under the British and still structured it now to exclude Arab citizens. Mapai does not propose any program to the Arabs but, working through cliques of Arab yes-men, rather dictates to them the things they have to do. The article had duality between (a) its covert respect for the ad­vanced left principles Mapai had voiced and institutionalized, its faint hope that "socialism" could integrate the races, and (b) its commitment to "the Arab people" (al-sha'b al-'Arabi) that Mapai deprived of its rights [Editorial, "Qarar Muhin" (A Discreditable Decision), al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 1].
In his militant Arabist focus, Jamal Musa protested against the Arab Depart­ment of the Histadrut for recommending that the elections of a Trade Union Coun­cil by the Union of Construction Workers in Nazareth be invalidated. The Histadrut was thus acting in support of the govern­ment's drive to halt the Arab Communists' unionization of Arab workers. ["Bahthun Siyasiyyun Wasi' Athna'a Iqrar Mizani­yyat al-Histadrut" (Wide-ranging Political Discussion During The Adoption of the Histadrut Budget), al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 2].
Despite its many bonds to the system, the predominantly Arab Israeli Commu­nist Party always remained on the outer margin of the Jewish mainstream’s toler­ance. Israeli intelligence and other gov­ernmental organizations regarded the party as little more than a sanctuary for Arab nationalists disguised under Marxist ideology. In late 1968, the then Minister
Moshe Dayan, read out in the Israeli Knesset (parliament) internal security (Shin Bet) reports that member Emile Habibi had supported acts of armed in­surrections at two internal meetings of party members held one and a half years earlier. One right-wing Knesset member demanded that the speaker lift the parlia­mentary immunity of Habibi so that he could be brought to trial.
Nothing, however, ever came of this burst of verbal hostility against Habibi from the Zionist establishment [[“Tahrid Ar’an ‘Alal-Na’ib al-Shuyu’i Emile Habi­bi” (Violent Incitation Against the Com­munist MK Emile Habibi), al-Ittihad 1 No­vember 1968 pp. 1, 6]].

Attitudes to the Wider Arab World
Al-Ittihad looked over the Arab states around Israel and saw lethal torture, as well as imprisonment, of Communists that was less common for Israeli Arabs, although it existed to some extent. In mid-1970, al-Ittihad quoted reports de­rived from the Syrian Communist journal Nidal al-Sha'b that 200 Communists had lately been imprisoned in Iraq and 400 in Damascus. The sale of Communist magazines had been banned in Damascus and the leading Syrian Communist Ah­mad Mustafa al-Zu'bi tortured to death. The Israeli Arab Communist newspaper, though, only ascribed the wave to the ini­tiative of the exuberant Interior Minister Colonel Tawil, not mentioning Syria's President Hafiz al-Asad, Moscow's “Pro­gressive” friend ["Arab popular circles ask who will benefit from the imprisonment of the Communists in Syria and Iraq", al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 2].
The paper noted that attempts by World Jewish Council President Dr Nahum Goldman to negotiate with Arab political leaders had borne fruit in a meeting be­tween him and the King of Morocco Has­san II [al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 1]. These “Arab Communists” were no radicals and might covertly have accepted even an American-brokered peace deal between Israel and the established Arab regimes. Yet many relatively Left Ashkenazi Israelis saw the Rakah Communist Party as intent to harm Israel subtly, and Jews who col­laborated in it, notably Mayer Wilner, as suffering from self-hatred.
I have not encountered any item in al-Ittihad for our period that offered a nu­anced view of any Jewish minority out­side Israel. The 1960s had seen the rise of militant Zionist nationalism in a small sector of Soviet Jewry that had Ihud as its underground newsletter. al-Ittihad pub­lished an account of the mid-1970 attempt to hijack a Soviet jet by a Riga-centered Zionist group. ["Risalah min Murasilina fi Musku: Ilqa' al-Qabd 'ala Jama'atin Sahyuniyyah athna'a Muhawalah likhtitafi Ta'irah Sufiyyatiyyah" (Letter from Mos­cow: Arrest of a Zionist Group During an Attempt to Highjack a Soviet Plane), al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 2. The report was from the Ashkenazi correspondent of al-Ittihad and Zo Ha-Derekh in Mos­cow, Hans Leberhat].
Organizational activity by real or nomi­nal Communist Arabs was restricted by the Israeli government's methodical ap­plication of orders of house detention or restrictions on movement. The purpose of the orders was to stop party members from commuting from their villages as a means both to stop them from earn­ing livelihoods and from functioning in “Communist” organizations - the fore­closing of self-institutionalization by “Is­raeli Arabs”. al-Ittihad was right that the measures amounted to "a severe violation of democracy and freedom of politi­cal activity" as defined by Israel's official parliamentarist ideology. The orders "do not spring from security considerations but are rather political in their motives" ["Ishtidad Qabdat al-Tadyiqat 'ala Dahaya Awamir al-Iqamat al-Ijbariyyah" (Grip of Harassment Against the Victims of House Detention Tightening") al-Ittihad 30 June 1970 p. 1]
The methodical issuing and policing of the orders of house arrest and restriction on the movement of Arabs with political consciousness must have been as onerous and time-consuming for the Ashkenazi intelligence and police officers as it was for the Arab Communists to get around them and continue their activity.
It is hard to understand why the Israeli authorities put apartheid-style or Soviet-like restrictions on the activities of a set of Arabs who accepted the Israeli state and were essentially safe, and only a small minority in a minority ethnos. Probably the Mapai ruling-class, whose Zionism had crystallized in Russia with full aware­ness of Leninism, tended towards the at­titude of those two totalitarian regimes that subject populations, and in particular ethnic minorities, had to be atomized and sealed off.