Good Arabs: The Israeli Secu­ri­ty Agen­cies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948 – 1967

Hil­lel Cohen; Haim Watz­man, trans.
  • Review
By – August 26, 2011
The mul­ti-faceted rela­tions between the Israeli author­i­ties and Israeli Arabs from 1948 to 1967 are described and exam­ined in detail, based pri­mar­i­ly on recent­ly declas­si­fied top-secret doc­u­ments of the Israeli police and prime minister’s office (the files of the Gen­er­al Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice as well as of the IDF remain clas­si­fied). A major top­ic is the rise of the col­lab­o­ra­tor class, exam­in­ing how they, and at times their com­mu­ni­ty, ben­e­fit­ed from their actions, and how the author­i­ties forced their will on indi­vid­u­als by eco­nom­ic and admin­is­tra­tive means. Anoth­er top­ic is the role of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty, which was the main chan­nel for nation­al expres­sion among Israeli Arabs. In exam­in­ing bor­der infil­tra­tion, the Arabs’ point of view is explored, name­ly, the wish of refugees to return to their vil­lages and unite with their fam­i­lies. Cohen also demon­strates that the Druze manda­to­ry mil­i­tary ser­vice was not eas­i­ly accept­ed by all Druze lead­ers and com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, con­trary to com­mon Israeli offi­cial pub­lic state­ments. This is a fas­ci­nat­ing study, detailed but nev­er bor­ing, with rev­e­la­tions about the past that help explain lat­er devel­op­ments between the State and Israeli Arabs. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, illus­tra­tions, index, notes.
Rachel Simon, a librar­i­an at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, does research on Jews in the mod­ern Mid­dle East and North Africa, with spe­cial ref­er­ence to Libya, Ottoman Empire, women, and education.

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