JERUSALEM (Sep. 14)
Foreign Minister Yigal Allon strongly denounced the Koenig report advocating harsh measures against Israeli Arabs who do not cooperate with the authorities. “This is a miserable document. There is absolutely no connection whatever between its contents and the actual policy of the government,” Allon told newsmen yesterday.
He was referring to a secret document coauthored by Yisrael Koenig, the Interior Ministry’s commissioner for the Galilee region. The document, published last week in the Mapam newspaper, Al Hamishmar, aroused a storm of controversy and demands by several Cabinet ministers and Knesset members for Koenig’s dismissal.
Allon seemed equally angered, however, that the document, written six months ago following Arab rioting in Galilee, had been leaked to the press. He praised Interior Minister Yosef Burg for quietly shelving it and said it was “a dreadful shame” that it was subsequently published.
Premier Yitzhak Rabin also took strong exception to its publication at Sunday’s Cabinet session when he rejected demands by Tourism Minister Moshe Kol of the Independent Liberal Party and Health Minister Victor Shemtov of Mapam that the “Koenig memorandum” be placed on the agenda for debate. Rabin said the communication was between a civil servant and his superior and was therefore not an appropriate subject for a wide-ranging Cabinet discussion.
It was announced, meanwhile, that Koenig, far from facing dismissal, was recommended yesterday to head a new inter-departmental body to devise “constructive” solutions to the problem of illegal Arab building activities in northern Israel. Koenig was proposed for the post by a top level government committee established six weeks ago to study the matter of illegal building activity.
The committee was chaired by Haim Kubersky, director general of the Interior Ministry. Its members included Shmuel Toledano, the Prime Minister’s advisor on Arab affairs, Meir Zorea, head of the Lands Authority and ranking police officers and other officials.
The committee agreed unanimously that the problem of illegal building has been grossly exaggerated. They reported that fewer than 300 structures existed without official authorization and would have to be removed. But that was a far cry from the 2700 figure reported in some newspapers. The committee recommended a tightening of controls on building in the Arab sector coupled with a more liberal policy of allocating land for home-building. (By David Landau)
There will be no Bulletin dated Sept. 27 due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday.