JERUSALEM (Apr. 4)
The Cabinet discussed last Tuesday’s violence in Arab towns and villages in Israel today but postponed a full-scale debate on the overall problem for another session in the near future, an official communique announced. (See related story P. 3.)
The ministers were briefed by Shmuel Toledano, the government’s advisor on Arab affairs and by national police chief Shaul Rosolio. Officials described today’s session as a “hearing” rather than an in-depth discussion. According to informed sources, the unanimous view of the Cabinet is that Israeli security forces were forced to fire in self-defense because their lives were endangered by the demonstrators. Six Arabs were killed and 31 Arab civilians and 38 soldiers and policemen were injured in the disturbances.
The reported consensus of the Cabinet was that law and order must be maintained by firm measures if necessary. But there was also general agreement that the government should do more to ensure that Israel’s Arab population enjoys full equality and is more fully integrated into the life of the nation, especially with respect to jobs in the civil service and government controlled companies. A working paper is being prepared on the overall problem and is expected to serve as a guideline for the upcoming debate.