Israelis Debate Abolition of Military Rule for Arabs at Public Meetings

Continuation or abolition of Israel’s military government in border areas inhabited by Arabs was publicly debated here today at two large mass meetings.

A so-called “Public Committee Against Military Governmentship, ” inspired largely by the Mapam Party, held one meeting that filled a large auditorium here to capacity. Speakers included representatives of Mapam, Ahdut Avoda, the Liberal Party, and one member of Herut who said, however, that he was speaking for himself and not as a representative of his party. Present were also some Arabs, a number of prominent Israeli actors and writers, and “younger generation” members of various parties.

At the same time. Minister of Agriculture Moshe Dayan, Israel’s former Chief of Staff of the Defense Forces, addressed another rally, attended chiefly by elder Israelis. Gen. Dayan repeated the Government’s explanation that continuance of the military government was essential to the State’s security. The same view was expressed by Deputy Defense Minister Shimon Peres at a rally in Herzlia.

Abba Eban, Minister of Education, speaking at another huge public meeting, said that the continuance of the military government is imperative as long as Arabs in the neighboring countries insist on the “elimination” of Israel and especially because Arabs in Israel are in sympathy with the anti-Israel views of the Arab world. He revealed that he had asked 300 Arab school principals on the attitudes of Israel’s Arab youth, and was told categorically that they felt themselves part of the Arab world and brothers of the Arabs across the border.

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