HAIFA (Sep. 27)
Haifa police claimed today that they had arrested the organizer of an Egyptian spy ring in Israel.
They identified the suspect as Hanni Arrabeh, 19, a former resident of the Shfyim health resort on the Sharon plain. Police officials said he crossed into Egypt last November and took part in broadcasts aimed at inciting Israel’s Arabs and that he switched to intelligence work.
Meanwhile, a group of young Arabs in Haifa were reported today as having formed an organization to prevent deterioration in relations between Israeli Jews and Arabs. The group distributed leaflets stating that the Arab population wanted to live peacefully with its Jewish neighbors. It called upon the Arabs in Israel to restrain themselves and to indulge in no hostile demonstrations against the Israeli authorities.
“Let us carry on the fight against the Government’s policy by legal means, ” the leaflets urged. “We want no hotheads to start anything rash.” Members of the organization said they intended to tour Arab schools to impress their views upon the pupils and prevent them from falling under the influence of Communist agitators against the Israeli regime.
Mayor Abba Khoushy of Haifa conferred in Town Hall with heads of the Christian and Moslem communities and expressed sympathy with the bereaved families of the Arab youth who had been shot while trying to cross the Gaza border illegally. At the same time he also expressed his grave concern that Communist elements were exploiting the incident to incite the Arab population to demonstrations. He asked the notables to do all in their power to calm the population.
The Arab leaders promised to comply with his request. Some of them later publicly urged the Arabs in their neighborhoods to abstain from any demonstration. (The New York Times carried an interview today with the 35-year-old Deputy Mayor of Nazareth, Abdul Aziz Zubi, in which the Arab leader expressed fear that the rancor and bitter Arab demonstrations in Nazareth last week had set the Arabs and Jews of Israel back 13 years in their relations with each other. Deploring the demonstrations, he said: “Those Jews who had wanted to raise us to the status of equal citizens–and I think they were a majority–will be in a bad position to do anything for us now.”)
Calm prevailed throughout the country today following the publication of a postmortem report establishing that the Arab youths who were killed while attempting to cross into the Gaza Strip last week were shot at a distance. The report also said that there were no signs of mutilation on the bodies when they were brought for examination to the Institute for Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir. The report exposed the lie published by the Communist daily “Kol Haam” that the youths were tortured before they were shot.