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.