NEW YORK (Jan. 25)
The vast improvement in living conditions of Israel’s 240,000 Arab citizens was described here today by Salim Joubran, head of the Arab Department of the Histadrut, the Israel Federation of Labor, who arrived here this week for a two-month tour of the United States.
Mr. Joubran, who was one of the 3, 000 Arabs of Haifa who remained in that city during the 1948 War of Liberation while thousands of others fled on instructions of Arab leaders, told a press conference that while many Israeli Arabs were still waiting for their brothers in the neighboring states to “liberate” Israel, others had been successfully integrated into Israeli economic, social and political life.
Describing the benefits which Israel’s Arab population have enjoyed since 1948, Mr. Joubran noted that about 52, 000 Arab children attend Government schools today as compared with only 25, 000 out of an Arab population in 1948, which was four times as large.
Mr. Joubran, who is a member of Israel’s Christian Arab community, said that while most Arab villages were virtually without electricity in 1948, more than half were now supplied with electric power and radios were to be found in most of the homes in these villages. He said many public cafes in Arab villages in Israel even had television sets to view broadcasts from neighboring countries.
Referring to the issue of military rule in border areas, he said that this was more of a psychological problem than any real source of actual irritation to Israeli Arabs. He noted that regulations requiring permits to travel in border areas applied to Jews as well as Arabs but that Arabs might be requested more frequently to show such permits since border police were constantly on the vigil for Arab infiltrators. Otherwise, he said, Israeli Arabs were not deprived of any rights.