CHAPTER VI
Israel's Arab Minority and National Security

ISRAEL IS frequently referred to as the Middle East nation second to Turkey in military power, though it lives in a state of insecurity. Its forces were reported, as of early 1957, to be about 200,000 men at full mobilization, or five to seven divisions plus support. This is believed to be somewhat less than the estimated total of the combined military strength of the Arab states. Many observers1 maintained that Israel excelled the latter in training, morale and the intangible factors which defy statistical analysis. The more than one hundred per cent increase in Israel's Jewish population since 1948 has facilitated the maintenance of a relatively large corps of reserves which are on instant call.2

The Arab countries have untapped and undeveloped manpower resources more than twenty times those of Israel. Should these be effectively utilized, these countries could eventually swamp the small Jewish state, even if it continued a high rate of immigration until all the potential sources of immigration were absorbed.

Israel's borders are 990 kilometers long. They comprise vulnerable corridors, inlets, land peninsulas, enclaves and other irregularities, which are much greater in relation to its total area than the frontiers of most nations. The plethora of geographic snares has created great trouble and restlessness among Israel's military leaders.

Viewed against Israel's unsettled political relationships with the Arab world, geographic-demographic factors and intermittent threats of a "second round" by Arab extremists have made the Jewish community apprehensive. These security problems have a direct bearing on government policy and public opinion toward the Arab refugee question as well as toward the Arab minority in Israel.

Most of Israel's 205,000 Arabs have close family connections with Palestinian refugees in the Arab countries.3 In many cases Israel Arab families are but the remnants of hamulas (extended families) which fled from the cities, towns and villages. Inevitably the sentiments and sympathies of Israel's Arab minority are

-90-

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Israel and the Palestine Arabs
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface *
  • Chapter I - Introduction and Background 3
  • Notes 17
  • Chapter II - The Arab States and the Refugee Problem 19
  • Notes 30
  • Chapter III - Early Repatriation Attempts 33
  • Notes 56
  • Chapter IV - The Shift to an Economic Solution 58
  • Notes 70
  • Chapter V - The Failure of Repatriation Attempts 72
  • Notes 88
  • Chapter VI - Israel's Arab Minority and National Security 90
  • Notes 118
  • Chapter VII - Israel's Arab Minority and Social Integration 121
  • Notes 139
  • Chapter VIII - Israel's Initial Absentee Property Policy 141
  • Notes 164
  • Chapter IX - Absorption of Absentee Property 168
  • Notes 187
  • Chapter X - Early Problems of Compensation 192
  • Notes 201
  • Chapter XI - U.N. Progress on Problems of Compensation 203
  • Notes 219
  • Chapter XII - Blocked Accounts 222
  • Notes 237
  • Chapter XIII - Conclusions 240
  • Select Bibliography 249
  • Index 261
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