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

  • Eyal Kafkafi (a1)
Extract

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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