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Exodus of Israelis from Galilee May Lead to Arab Majority There

The growing exodus of Israelis from towns and settlements in Galilee, if not reversed, may lead to an Arab majority in that part of Israel, according to an Interior Ministry document released here. The document, prepared as part of the Ministry’s general plan for a national population of four million by early 1980s, said there was a steady Jewish emigration from Galilee.

It cited as an example Kiryat Shemona, founded in 1953, in which some 80,000 persons were settled. In 1965, however, its population was only 15,000. Kiryat Shemona, near the Lebanese border, has been the target of terrorist attacks in the past year.

The Interior Ministry reported that many Jewish youths leave their home towns in Galilee, especially after completing military service, while Arab residents show a much higher degree of attachment to their home villages. The proportion of Arabs in Galilee rose from 44 percent of the population in 1968 to 46 percent in 1979. The latest figures show that Arabs now constitute 49 percent of Galilee’s population, the Interior Ministry said.

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