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Segregation or Integration of the Israeli Arabs: Two Concepts in Mapai

  • Eyal Kafkafi (a1)
Abstract

With the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of British rule in Palestine, the nascent Zionist labor movement, shortly to become the backbone of the Zionist undertaking in Palestine, found itself confronted by a series of fundamental questions. The purpose of this paper is to show that there was never a consensus within the Zionist labor movement; that the leadership was divided on vital issues; that Israel's leader, David Ben-Gurion, represented only one approach within labor Zionism, and that even after his approach had prevailed, following drawn-out disputes, and he had risen to a position of commanding authority, his policies continued to be challenged by successive leaders during the decades preceding and following the establishment of the State of Israel.

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1 Shlaim Avi, “Conflicting Approaches to Israel's Relations with the Arabs: Ben-Gurion and Sharett, 1953–1956,” Middle East Journal 37 (1983): 180201; Tov Yaakov Bar-Siman, “Ben-Gurion and Sharett: Conflicting Management and Great Power Constraints in Israeli Foreign Policy,” Middle Eastern Studies 24, 3 (07 1988): 330–56. For another view, see Telhami Shibley, “Israeli Foreign Policy: A Static Strategy in a Changing World,” Middle East Journal 44, 3 (Summer 1990): 401.

2 At the end of May 1954, Israeli military intelligence activated a spy ring in Cairo, ordering it to undertake sabotage operations against selected Egyptian, British, and American targets. The last operation was a failure; the Israeli agents were imprisoned; and a Cairo military tribunal sentenced two of the agents to death by hanging. Two agents committed suicide, and six were given long prison sentences. Director of Military Intelligence Gibli Benjamin and Minister of Defense Pinhas Lavon accused each other of having authorized the sabotage operations, and in 02 1955, following the Olshan-Dori Commission of Enquiry, Lavon submitted his resignation and Ben-Gurion took up the Defense Portfolio. In 1960, the “Affair” erupted after discoveries of falsification of evidence and documents. Although Lavon was exonerated by a committee of seven ministers, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion forced his resignation from his post as secretary-general of the Histadrut, Israel's largest labor federation. The political “Affair,” however, did not subside until Ben-Gurion and his followers left Mapai.

3 Weizmann to Arlozoroff , n.d., in Am. Hevra Umedina (Selected Essays), ed. Arlosoroff Haim and Maniv Asher (Tel Aviv, 1984), 178; Getter Miriam, Haim Arlosoroff, Biografia Politit (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 1977), 223.

4 Avinery Shlomo, “Haim Arlosoroff, Hoge Deʾot Hevrati Umedini,” in Am, Hevra Umedina, 2024.

5 Kitvei Haim Arlosoroff (Tel Aviv: Stible, 1934), 6:78, 114–17.

6 Shapira Anita, Herev Hayona (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1992), 284–86.

7 Minutes of Mapai's Council, 6–9 01 1933, Mapai's Archives, Berl Beit (hereafter MA) 22/33; Minutes of Mapai's Central Committee, 13 11 1932, MA 22/32.

8 Getter , Haim Arlosoroff, 108.

9 Minutes of Mapai's Council, 6–9 01 1933; MA 21/33; Stein Kenneth W., The Land Question in Palestine (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1984), 137–41.

10 Arlosoroff , Am. Hevra Umedina, 24, 131.

11 Bar-Zohar Michael, Ben-Gurion, vol. 1 (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1975), 177.

12 Haʾavoda Sefer Achdut (Tel Aviv: Vaʾadat Hayalkut, 1932), 1970, 297.

13 Gorni Josef, Mediniut Veʾdimion (Federal Ideas in Zionist Political Thought-1917–1948) (Jerusalem: Yad Ben Zvi, 1993), 5052; Minutes of Mapai's Council, 5–8 02 1931, MA 21/32; Teveth Shabtai, Ben-Gurion Vearviyei Eretz Yisrael (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv: Schoken, 1985), 122–25. About the “autonomy” in the Mandat period, see Lissak Moshe, “Soziologim ‘Bikortiyim’ Vesoziologim ‘Mimsadiyim’,” in Tzionut: Pulmus Ben-Zemanenu, ed. Ginossar Pinhas and Bareli Avi (Sede Boqer: Ben-Gurion Research Center, 1997), 7376.

14 Bar-Zohar Michael, Ben-Gurion (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1977), 2:874; Minutes of the Central Committee of Mapai, 9 11 1958, MA 23/58.

15 Ben-Gurion David, “Bithonenu Umaʾamadenu,” a Preface for the Israeli Government Annual for 1960 (Jerusalem: Government of Israel, 1959), I–II; Minutes of the Discussion on the Arab Question, 10–11 09 1929, Histadrut Archives (hereafter HA) 208/4/214b, 320; Ben-Gurion's speech during Independence Day, 25 04 1955, Israeli Archives (hereafter ISA) 4373/18, 2–3, which was not included in Ben-Gurion , Hazon Vadereh (Tel Aviv: Ayanot, 1957), 5:166–67.The U.S. Embassies in Tel Aviv and Cairo to the Secretary of State, 30 04 1955, the U.S. National Archives (hereafter NA), 684A.86/4–30–2955; Sela Avraham, “Meoraot Hakottel (1929)—Nekudat Mifne Bayahasim Bein Yehudim Leʾaravim,” in Yerushalaim batodaʾa uvʾasia hatzionit, ed. Lewski Hagit (Jerusalem: Merkaz Zalman Shazar, 1989), 276.

16 Nur Yizhak Gal, Veshavu Banim Ligvulam, Hahahraot al Medina Ushtahim (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1994), 198. For the various Zionist views about transfer, see Flapan Simha, Zionism and the Palestinians (London and New York: Barnes & Noble, 1979), 259–66.

17 Ben-Gurion to Mapai Secretariat, 12 07 1937, Zvi Yad Ben Archives 10, Palestine Royal Commission Report, 07 1937 (London: His Majesty's Stationary Office, 1937), 392; Katz Yossi, “Diyunei Vaʾa dat Hasohnut Lehaʾavarat Ohlusin, 1937–1938,” Zion 53, 2 (1988): 167–18. Arab tenant farmers within Palestine were usually resettled with the compensation they received from the Jewish National Fund: Stein Kenneth W., “The Jewish National Fund: Land Purchase Methods and Priorities, 1924–1939,” Middle Eastern Studies 20, 2 (04 1984): 201; cf. Tyler W. P. N., “The Beisan Lands Issue in Mandatory Palestine,” Middle Eastern Studies 25, 2 (04 1989): 145.

18 Katz , “Diyunei Vaʾadat,” 177–84.

19 Minutes of Mapai's Political Committee, 8 06 1938, HA 406/4/11.

20 Lavon Pinhas, “Im Seridei Amenu” (“With the Remnants of Our People”), Binetivei lyun Umaʾavak (Tel Aviv: Am Oved, 1968), 233.

21 Barzel Naʾima, “Hatvia Bayishuv Lehaʾanashata Shel Germania 1944–1947,” Cathedra 73 (09 1994): 180.

22 Amitay Yossi, Ahvat Amim Bamivhan 1948–1954 (Tel Aviv: Tcherikover, 1988), 89, 106; Lebeʾaiot Hahistadrut Bamedina (Tel Aviv: Mapai, 1948); Manifesto Histadrut, 2 12 1947, HA 208/4/4113.

23 Lebeʾaiot Hahistadrut Bamedina, 20. However, the Arabist Michael Assaf agreed with Lavon: ibid., 11.

24 ibid., 18, 33–36.

25 gMinutes of Histadrut Executive Committee, 10 12 1947, HA, vol. 87; Minutes of “Hever Hakvutzot” Secretariat, 11 12 1947, Gordonia Archives, Hulda (hereafter GA) 5/4.

26 Minutes and Resolutions of Histadrut Executive Committee, 1 01 1948, HA 208/4/5173; an agreement between Arab and Jewish workers at the Haifa Oil Refineries, 26 01 1948, HA 208/4/ 5271.

27 Minutes of Mapai Secretariat, 29 05 1948, MA 24/48.

28 Ben-Gurion, “Bithonenu Umaʾamadenu,” I–II.

29 Minutes of Mapai Secretariat, 1 06 1948, MA 24/48; Pin has Lavon , “Yahasei Amim Bamedina,” Davar, 16 06 1948; cf. Hatzair Hapoel, 6 07 1948, no. 40, 1112.

30 Shavit Yossi, “Segregation, Tracking, and the Educational Attainment of Minorities: Arabs and Oriental Jews in Israel,” American Sociological Review 55, 1–3 (02 1990): 115–26.

31 An excerpt from the Minutes of Mapai's Council, 21 05 1949, GA.

32 Minutes of the Political Committee of Mapai, 26 09 1951, MA 26/51.

33 Minutes of Mapai's Bureau, 19 01 1950, MA 25/50.

34 Minutes of Mapai's Secretariat with the Parliamentary Faction, 18 June and 9 07 1950, MA 11–1–3; Minutes of Ambassadors’ Convention, 17 07 1950, ISA 2408/9.

35 Interview with Mordehai Makleff, in Michael Bar Zohar Archives.

36 Minutes of the Mapai Parliamentary Faction, 15 January and 20 02 1951, MA 11–1–5; Diary Ben-Gurion's, 3 01 1952, Ben-Gurion Archives in Kiryat Sde Boker (hereafter BGA); Minutes of the Israeli Government, 8 02 1951, ISA Library; Stendel Ori, Arviyey Yisrael (Jerusalem: Akademon, 1992), 25.

37 The military government was established in 1948 in order to protect the Arab population from the Israeli Jews: Tal David, Hitpathuta Shel Tfisat Habitahon Hashotef 1949–1956 (diss., Tel Aviv University, 1994), 2122.

38 Minutes of the Mapai Parliamentary Faction, 12 10 1950, MA 11–1–2; Minutes of Mapai's Bureau, 15 01 1950, MA 25/50.

39 Kafkafi Eyal, Emet o Emuna (Jerusalem: Yad Yizhak Ben Zvi, 1992), 90143.

40 Yanay Natan, “Hamaʾavar Limdinat Yisrael Lelo Huka,” in Hamaʾavar Mʾyishuv Limdina, ed. Pilowsky Vardah (Haifa: University of Haifa, 1990), 2336; see also Lavon's speech in the Minutes of the Israeli Government, 6 12 1950, ISA Library.

41 The wage difference, however, generally persisted: Kamen Charles S., “After the Catastrophe II: The Arabs in Israel, 1948–1951,” Middle Eastern Studies 24, 1 (01 1988): 72, 95.

42 Documents on the help of the Histadrut to the Israeli Arabs in files 163, 394, 437, 439, 495, HA, division 419/4.

43 On cooperation through the Arab villages, see Gal Yoram Bar, “The Concept of Diffusion, Dimension of Time and Space in Cooperative Agricultural Organization in Non-Jewish Villages in Israel,” Middle Eastern Studies 16, 3 (10 1980): 237–45.

44 Minutes concerning Majdal, 21 08 1950, HA 219/4/163.

45 Ben-Gurion to the Head of the G branch, General Headquarters, Yigal Yadin, 14 05 1950, ISA 2402/23b.

46 Minutes of the Government of Israel, 12 07 1950, ISA Library.

47 Mohl Imanuel N. to Barkatt Reuven, 25 10 1950, HA 219/4/163. However, cf. Morris Benny, “The Transfer of Al Majdal's Remaining Arabs to Gaza, 1950,” 1945 and After, Israel and the Palestinians, ed. Morris Benny (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994), 323–47.

48 Kaplan Shabtai, “To the Majdal Affair,” Al-Hamishmar, 25 09 1950.

49 Documents of the Majdal Affair in HA 219/4/163.

50 Dayan Moshe, Avnei Derech (Tel Aviv: Dvir, 1976), 9596; Minutes of a Conversation between Dayan and Ben-Gurion , 22 11 1956, Israel Defense Forces Archives (hereafter IDFA) 890/73/1323.

51 The Egyptian Complaints about the Majdal Expulsion, 9 09 1950, ISA 2477/10a.

52 Kaplan Shabtai, “Hayamim Haʾahronim shel Majdal,” Al-Hamishmar, 31 10 1950.

53 An interview with Yaakov Cohen, Berl Beit, 30 03 1992.

54 Tevet Shabtay, “Mihsholim Beshikum Haplitim,” Haʾaretz, 8 11 1950.

55 A summary of a conversation on 12 12 1950, Bloom Yehuda to Efrati Yoseph, 7 04 1952, ISA 2458/5821; Ben-Gurion's Diary, 24 03 1952.

56 Ben-Gurion's Diary, 19 10 1952.

57 Palmon Yehoshua to the Chief of General Staff and to the Director General of the Defense Ministry, 27 05 1952, ISA 2402/23b; Benziman Uzi and Mansour Atalla, Dayarey Mishne (Jerusalem: Keter, 1992), 4243.

58 Ben-Gurion's Diary, 30 10 1952.

59 Lavon to Ben-Gurion , 12 11 1952, ISA 2401/19.

60 Ben-Gurion to the Government, 25 03 1953, ISA 2402/23b.

61 Minutes of Mapai's Political Committee, 15 12 1953, MA 26/53.

62 Interview with Dan Tolkowski, Tel Aviv, 10 03 1991.

63 A summary of the Military Government for August–December 1953, ISA 2402/23b.

64 Dayan to “the Minister of Defense,” 1 08 (Shabbat) 1953, IDFA 17/11/55.

65 Minutes of the Israeli Government, no. 64, 2 08 1953, ISA, vol. 9.

66 David Hacohen to Lavon, 3 08 1953, MA 11–2–14.

67 Knesset Minutes, 5 08 1953, vol. 14, 2148–49.

68 For example, “Uzi and Company,” Haʾaretz, 6 08 1953; “Times mevaker et Lavon's speech about the search in Tira,” Haʾaretz, 8 08 1953; “Tira,” Al-Hamishmar, 9 08 1953.

69 Lavon's speech before the Olshan Committee, 01 1955, IDFA 282/77/17.

70 Minutes of Mapai's Secretariat, 27 08 1954, MA 24/54.

71 See contradictory information about Arabs’ taxes in Al-Haj Majid, Hinuh Bekerev Haʾaravim Beyisrael (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1996), 50.

72 Minutes of a Discussion on the Military Government, 27 09 1953, IDFA 230/72/1054.

73 Lavon learned of the need to re-establish the authority of the adviser on Arab affairs: the general manager of the Ministry of Defense, Zeev Shind, to the head of the Military Government Department, Shani Yizhak, 28 01 1952, ISA c/5441/1590.

74 Minutes of a Discussion on the Military Government, 27 09 1953.

75 Minutes of Mapai's Assembly, 14 02 1953, IDFA 532/73/218.

76 The High Command Gathering of the IDF, IDFA 636/56/10.

77 Lavon to Rokach Yisrael (Minister for Interior Affairs), 11 01 1954, IDFA 230/72/1057;Ben-Gurion's Diary, 12 02 1953; see also Rokach Yisrael to Ben-Gurion , 16 02 1953, and Ben-Gurion to Rokach , 24 02 1953, ISA c/5434/1402; Minutes of the Parliamentary Committee for Interior Affairs, 24 03 1953, ISA 70/K (Knesset).

78 An Excerpt From A Meeting In The Defense Ministry In “Rosh Hashana” (09 1953), Ma 3/14/4.

79 Tal , Hitpalhuta Shel Tfisat Habitation Hashotef, 228.

80 See Schnell Izhak, “Urban Restructuring in Israeli Arab Settlements,” Middle Eastern Studies 30, 2 (04 1994): 330.

81 Sharett Moshe, Yoman Ishi (Tel Aviv: Maʾariv, 1978), 462, 482; documents in ISA 5441/1590c.

82 A Reasonable Step,” Haʾaretz 9 02 1954.

83 Summary of a meeting of the military government representative with the Histadrut Arab Department, 12 09 1954, HA 219/150; memo from the Haifa Arab Union, 16 02 1954, MA 11–2–16; Kappelyuk Menahem, “Nichsey Nifkadim Lehitashrut Yehidim?” Lavon to Sharett and others, 19 01 1954, and to Haim Shorer, 3 March 1954, MA 11–2–14.

84 Lavon to Dayan , 18 02 1954, IDFA 11/90/340; 3 March 1954, IDFA 230/72/1057; Chief of General Staff/Diary, 28 05 1954, IDFA 127/73/1.

85 Al-Haj Majid, Hinuch Bekerev Haʾaravim Beyisrael (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1996), 51.

86 Minutes of a Discussion on the Military Government, 27 09 1953.

87 Lustick Ian, Arabs in the Jewish State, Israel's Control of a National Minority (Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1980), 93.

88 Shimoni Yaakov to Eban Abba, 17 08 1953, ISA 355/27.

89 Ben-Gurion Survey in the Government, 18 10 1953, ISA p/941.

90 Sharett , Yoman Ishi, 337–38.

91 Barkatt Reuven, “Gius Aravim Lezahal,” Mazpen, 24 11 1954.

92 Benziman and Mansour , Dayarey Mishne, 117–18.

93 Minutes of the Minister of Defense discussions, 13 May 1954, 3 June 1954, 18 08 1954, IDFA 890/73/2163.

94 Ksam Camal, “Gius Aravim Lezahal” (Hebrew), Mazpen, 1 12 1954;Raz Shaul, “Gius Aravim LeZahal,” Mazpen, 8 12 1954. See the view against the Arab Conscription: Goldberg Yohanan, “Gius Aravim LeZahal,” Mazpen, 15 12 1954; see also 1 December and 8 December 1954.

95 Report on ongoing registration of the minorities for conscription into the IDF, 1 10 1954, ISA 2402/18.

96 Barkatt, “Gius Aravim Lezahal.”

97 “The letters from April 15, 1954, and January 5, 1955, are now nullified”: IDFA 230/72/1054.

98 Conversation with Ben-Gurion , 23 02 1955, IDFA 890/73/2104, and 10 March 1955, IDFA 890/73/822.

99 Ben-Gurion to Dayan , 18 05 1955, IDFA 890/73/2084.

100 Lavon at Berl Beit, 18 05 1955, GA 221/3/9.

101 Barkatt to Ratner Yohanan, 17 01 1956, ISA 2401/20.

102 Report of the Committee for the Military Government, December 1955–02 1956, HA 219/4/26.

103 Ben-Gurion refused to let the most prominent Israeli poet, Nathan Alterman, go to Kafr Qasim in order to give the villagers his condolences. Both Ben-Gurion and Dayan thought that the Arab villagers had actually finished mourning for their forty-seven brethren after three weeks: Minutes of Ben-Gurion's staff, 22 11 1956, IDFA 890/73/1323.

104 Minutes of Mapai's Foreign Affairs Committee, 4 03 1958, MA 7/7/58:Benziman and Mansour , Dayarey Mishne, 106;American Embassy, Tel Aviv, Desp. no. 51, 27 07 1959, NA 784A.02/7–2759.

105 Minutes of Mapai's Committee for Arab Affairs, 14 08 1958, MA 7/32.

106 Minutes of Mapai's Foreign Affairs Committee, 28 01 1959, MA 7/7/58.

107 Manifesto of an Arab Labor Party, 11 02 1959, MA 11/Barkatt.

108 Ben-Gurion to Mapam Ministers, 2 02 1960, Ben-Gurion's Diary, 12 02 1960; Minutes of Haifa Workers Council, 8 03 1960, HA 250/4/109.

109 Goldscheider Calvin, “Arab-Israel Demography and Distinctiveness,” in The Arab Minority in Israel: Dilemmas of Political Orientation and Social Change, Asian and African Studies, ed. Rekhess Elie, vol. 27, no. 1–3 (March/07 1993), 68.

110 Al-Haj Majid, “Kinship and Local Politics Among the Arabs in Israel,” in The Arab Minority, 52.

111 Minutes of Haifa Workers Council, 1 03 1959, Haifa Workers Council Archive.

112 Minutes of Mapai's Secretariat, 15 05 1952, HA 219/4/126.

113 Barkatt to Chushi Aba, 10 1959, MA 11/Barkatt.The Israeli method was to try to preserve what Don Peretz defines as “factionalism,” the dominant cause of the Palestinians’ defeat in 1948: Peretz , “Palestinian Social Stratification: The Political Implication,” Journal of Palestine Studies 7, 1 (1977): 55.

114 Linn Amnon to Barkatt , 5 02 1958, MA 11/Barkatt.

115 When doubts surrounding Barkatt's integrity were apparently discussed at the Mapai Control Board: note from Barkatt and other documents, MA 11/Barkatt.

116 Minutes of the Histadrut Central Committee, 25 04 1960, HA 97; interview with Cohen Yaakov, Beit Berl, 30 03 1992, and with Yahalom Nahum, 20 06 1991.

117 Smooha Sammy, “The Arab Minority in Israel: Radicalization or Politicization?” in Israel, State and Society, 1948–1988, Studies in Contemporary Jewry, ed. Medding Peter Y. (1989), 74.

118 Minutes of Mapai's Committee on Arab Affairs, 14 08 1958, MA 7/32.

119 Minutes of Arabic Literature Fund, 10 03 1959, MA 32–19–146.

120 Barkatt-Librani-Abu Racan correspondence, MA 32–19–146.

121 Minutes of Mapai's Committee on Arab Affairs, 5 05 1961, MA 7/32.

122 Ibid.

123 Ibid., 4 May 1962, MA 7/32; interview with Israel Zavdi, 7 07 1991; notes in the Aharon Becker Papers, HA 104/4/15–2–9; Haim Flexer to Barkatt , 25 05 1961; and other letters to Barkatt, MA 32–19–126.

124 Sharett to the Secretary-General of the Histadrut, Becker Aharon, 13 04 1961.

125 Josef Elyahu to Barkatt , 7 05 1961; Cohen Yaakov to Barkatt , 14 04 1961; and other letters to Barkatt, MA 32–19–126 and Barkatt/11.

126 Shmaryahu Moshe, “Becker and Yaʾhalom,” MaDariv, 17 05 1961.

127 Lavon's speech, 20 12 1962, GA 221/7.

128 Benziman and Mansour , Dayarey Mishne, 107–8; Minutes of Mapai's Committee on Arab Affairs, 1 02 1962, MA 7/32; Minutes of Mapai's Secretariat, 1–5 05, 9 02 1962, MA 24/62.

129 Minutes of a discussion in Mapai on Arab Affairs, 1 11 1963, MA 32–19–50.

130 A summary of a discussion held in Haifa, 11 01 1963, MA 32–19–50; Benyamin Neuberger, The Arab Minority in Israeli Politics 1948–1992,” in The Arab Minority, 151.

131 Ben-Gurion, “Bithonenu Umaʾamadenu,” I-II.

132 If, as Ernst Gellner put it, there is no hope that “nationalism” can entirely “be flattened out by the bulldozer of industrial production,” there are, nevertheless, “some grounds for partial optimism. The diffusion of economic prosperity can diminish the intensity of ethnic feelings. When two populations, previously in ethnic conflict, both possess favorable and reasonably equal economic prospects the acute friction … gradually disappears”: Gellner Ernst, Encounters with Nationalism (Oxford and Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1994), 3738, 46.

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