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Ben-gurion Questioned in Knesset on His Views on Israeli Arabs

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was questioned in the Knesset (Parliament) here today about an interview with him, printed recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Figaro, in which he had been quoted as saying that “Israeli Arabs prefer that Israel be an Arab state and, if given an opportunity, they would support the destruction of Israel.”

The question was put by Moshe Carmel, a Knesset member of the Ahdut Avodah Party. Mr. Ben-Gurion was asked whether he desired to correct the report in Le Figaro and what the political aim of such a statement was–if, indeed, he had made the statement. The Prime Minister, making no reference to the specific quotation attributed to him, said that he was not responsible for press reports in his name, except those which he had personally submitted and signed.

Addressing a public meeting in Tel Aviv, Deputy Defense Minster Shimon Peres said that Israel’s Arab population can be divided in three categories: the indifferently resigned; the hostile resigned; the active hostile. Israel, he said, is vitally concerned as to which of these elements will dominate the Arab community. “We are out to prevent their domination by the extremists by public pressure or by terror, as happened in Algeria,” he added. He defended the maintaining of a military rule in Israel’s border areas populated by Arabs, stressing that military government is essential for internal security.

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