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Rabin Promises Israeli Arab Leaders That the Government Will Help Them Develop Settlements

Premier Yitzhak Rabin has promised Israeli Arab leaders full help from the government to develop Arab settlements and villages. He urged them to forget the controversial Koenig report and get on with the job of developing and improving their towns.

Rabin’s pledge was contained in a letter from his advisor on Arab affairs, Shmuel Toledano, to the heads of local Arab municipalities who had demanded the dismissal of Yisrael Koenig, the Interior Ministry’s commissioner for northern Israel. A secret report drafted by Koenig and others recommending harsh treatment of Arabs who did not cooperate with the authorities and measures to reduce the Arab population in Galilee, was leaked to the press last month and published in the Mapam newspaper, Al Hamishmar.

Toledano emphasized in his letter that the Cabinet decided May 24 to work for fuller integration of Israeli Arabs into the life of the country. The decision was not merely a recommendation by “one” government official but a binding government policy decision, he wrote. “Any attempt to follow a different policy would be immediately stopped,” he added, indicating that the Koenig report did not represent the official government position and was therefore of no importance.