When the Shin Bet Chief Warned That Educated Arabs Are a ‘Problem’ for Israel

Extraordinary declassified documents reveal the reasons cited by Israel’s top security officials for repressing the country’s Arab minority

By Adam Raz | 16 September 2021

HAARETZ — When it comes to the state’s attitude toward its Palestinian citizens, the policy of making available historical documents from the archives is made on the basis of several criteria. One of them starts with the assumption that declassifying documentation that reveals a policy of inequality is liable to harm the country’s image and generate a possible reaction from Israel’s Arab population.

Because the state’s approach to the Arab public has long been essentially repressive, it’s not surprising that the documentation available for perusal is very limited. It follows, then, that any attempt to present an ongoing description of the positions taken by senior figures in the security establishment over the years is almost doomed to fail. Nonetheless, two files that recently became available for perusal in the Israel State Archives offer an exceptional look at the bedrock views of the country’s top security officials toward the country’s Palestinian citizens during its early decades, and reveal their guiding principles.

The two documents in question were declassified following a request submitted by the Akevot Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research. The first, titled “Summary of a Meeting about the Arab Minority in Israel,” relates to a meeting held in February 1960, at the request of Uri Lubrani, the Arab affairs adviser to Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Lubrani convened the heads of the security units that dealt with the “Arab issue,” a term used frequently in discussions during that period. […]

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