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Good Arabs

Good Arabs: The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967

Hillel Cohen
Translated by Haim Watzman
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 296
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pnm0s
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  • Book Info
    Good Arabs
    Book Description:

    Based on his reading of top-secret files of the Israeli police and the prime minister's office, Hillel Cohen exposes the full extent of the crucial, and, until now, willfully hidden history of Palestinian collaboration with Israelis-and of the Arab resistance to it. Cohen's previous book, the highly acclaimedArmy of Shadows,told how this hidden history played out from 1917 to 1948, and now, inGood Arabshe focuses on the system of collaborators established by Israel in each and every Arab community after the 1948 war. Covering a broad spectrum of attitudes and behaviors, Cohen brings together the stories of activists, mukhtars, collaborators, teachers, and sheikhs, telling how Israeli security agencies penetrated Arab communities, how they obtained collaboration, how national activists fought them, and how deeply this activity influenced daily life. When this book was first published in Hebrew, it became a bestseller and has evoked bitter memories and intense discussions among Palestinians in Israel and prompted the reclassification of many of the hundreds of documents Cohen viewed to uncover a story that continues to unfold to this day.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94488-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    IN 1949, WHEN ISRAEL SIGNED ARMISTICE AGREEMENTS with its Arab neighbors at the end of the war in which it was born, the Jewish state found itself with an unwelcome 156,000 Arabs, approximately 15 percent of the new country’s population. At the same time, these Arabs found that they were citizens of a state whose creation they had largely opposed and against which the Arab world had launched a war just two years earlier. The Israeli authorities, lacking any experience of governance and with contradictory traditions about relations with non-Jews, faced a presumptively hostile national minority within their new polity....

  7. ONE Beginning a Beautiful Friendship: The Rise of the Collaborator Class
    (pp. 11-38)

    An unexpected welcome awaited officers of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, and the military government when they entered Taybe in May 1949. Taybe, like the other Palestinian Arab villages in the area constituting “the Triangle” in the central part of the country, had been annexed to Israel under the terms of the Rhodes Agreements between Israel and Jordan. One of the village’s most notorious inhabitants (at least in Israeli eyes) reported to the military government’s headquarters and offered his services as a consultant. ʿAbd al-Raʾouf ʿAbd al-Razeq had been a prominent figure in the Arab revolt of 1936–39,...

  8. TWO Communists vs. the Military Government, Collaborators vs. Communists
    (pp. 39-64)

    THE FOLLOWING LETTER ARRIVED at the Nazareth police station in August 1955:

    Dear Inspector of the Nazareth Police Station

    We, some of the elders of the village of ʿEilabun, make the following presentation to your excellency:

    1. Muʿin Salim Zureiq owns a grocery store in the village of ʿEilabun.

    2. This said man sells alcoholic and soft drinks without a license.

    3. The said drinks are situated under a bench in his living room across from the store.

    4. The young men of ʿEilabun come to playcardssecretly in his store.

    5. The store is located across the street...

  9. THREE Boundary Breakers: Infiltrators, Smugglers, Spies
    (pp. 65-94)

    ON A SUMMER NIGHT IN 1952, a detachment of policemen arrived in the village of Biʿneh, in the Upper Galilee, searching for infiltrators who had crossed over from Lebanon. The policemen headed for the home of Bulus Hanna Bulus, a veteran Arab nationalist and a member of the Communist Party. Bulus’s sister, Ibtihaj, wife of the party secretary in the Galilee, Ramzi Khuri, was also in the house at the time. She herself was a refugee who had recently returned to Israel illegally. The police demanded a search of the house; Bulus and his sister refused to let them in....

  10. FOUR The Land
    (pp. 95-122)

    THE MAIN GOAL OF MANY INFILTRATORS was to rejoin their families. Thus, Israel’s efforts to prevent this became a central bone of contention between the state and its minority population, impinging on the daily and family lives of many Arabs. But the Arabs enjoyed no little success. According to government figures, 20,500 infiltrators who entered Israel between the end of the 1948 war and October 1953 were allowed to remain and were granted citizenship. Additionally, some 3,000 Arabs outside the country were granted entry permits for humanitarian reasons.¹ While these returnees constituted only a small proportion—fewer than 5 percent—of...

  11. FIVE The Battle of the Narrative: Symbols, Pronouncements, Teachers
    (pp. 123-158)

    ISTIQLAL/ATZMAʿUT,A 1994 DOCUMENTARY FILM directed by Nizar Hasan and named for the Arabic and Hebrew words for “independence,” is set in his home village, Mash-had, in the Galilee. In the film, his mother recalls a period when the village, like all other Arab villages in the Galilee, the Triangle, and the Negev, was under military rule. As a schoolteacher, she was expected by the regime to mold her pupils into loyal Israeli citizens. So she taught them about the state’s achievements and danced with them on Israel’s Independence Day. She was hardly exceptional. Most Arab teachers did the same....

  12. SIX Minorities within a Minority: Dilemmas of Identity
    (pp. 159-194)

    One morning in February 1956, IDF Corporal Moshe Yefet, who served in the military government, arrived in Yarka, a Druze village in the Galilee. He went by the home of the village’s mukhtar, Sheikh Marzuq Saʿid Muʿadi, and the two of them set out together to hand out induction orders to the village’s young men. When they reached the home of Suleiman Sirhan Tarif, they asked him whether his son had already reported for service. Tarif shouted at them, “I oppose my son’s enlistment. Whoever agreed that the Druze would be drafted into the IDF is a son of a...

  13. SEVEN Circles of Control, Circles of Resistance
    (pp. 195-230)

    In May 1921, Arabs from the villages on the Sharon plain, north of Tel Aviv, attacked the surrounding Jewish settlements. In Palestinian historical literature, this offensive is considered the beginning of organized Palestinian resistance to Zionism. Hundreds of villagers and Bedouin from the Sharon and Bani Saʿb area mustered in ʿAzzun, a village on the western slopes of the Samarian highlands, divided themselves into detachments, and struck at Jewish farming communities. They had only limited success because of the meager arms they had at their disposal (only a few dozen had guns), because of advance warnings received by the Jews,...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 231-238)

    THE LIVES OF ISRAEL’S ARAB CITIZENS—a national minority in a Jewish state—have involved the dilemma of how to relate to the state of Israel and its institutions, a dilemma that still faces each one of them. This is not just a question of identification, in the standard formulation of Israel’s public opinion pollsters: “Do you feel more Israeli or more Arab/Palestinian?” or in its theoretical formulation: “Do I owe loyalty to a state that has granted me citizenship but discriminates against me?” or in its theological formulation: “What is the proper attitude toward a non-Muslim ruler who has...

  15. NOTES
    (pp. 239-264)
  16. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 265-268)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 269-281)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 282-282)