Bitter Exchanges Mark Meeting of Jewish and Arab Mayors in Galilee

Local Jewish and Arab mayors met in this Galilee town today in an effort to improve relations between their communities in northern Israel. But the discussions degenerated rapidly into heated exchanges and no formula for coexistence was reached.

Mayor Micha Goldmann of Kfar Tabor, who organized the meeting, attempted to restrict the agenda to municipal problems. But Mayor Tawfik Zayyad of Nazareth a Communist member of the Knesset, injected a bitter political note. He said the Arabs of Galilee never challenged the fact that the region was on integral port of Israel. But, he charged, when Israelis speak of developing Galilee, they actually mean its Judaization — pushing out the Arab population.

The Mayor of the Jewish village of Menahamiya drew angry reactions from his Arab colleagues when he observed that whereas Jews have no choice but to stay in Israel, Arabs like Zayyad could always go to other Arab countries. The meeting ended with an agreement to set up a joint committee of mayors which would try to arrange meetings in a less contentious atmosphere in the future.

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