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Good Arabs

The Israeli Security Agencies and the Israeli Arabs, 1948–1967

Hillel Cohen

Publication Year: 2010

Based on his reading of top-secret files of the Israeli police and the prime minister's office, Hillel Cohen exposes the full extent of the crucial, and, until now, willfully hidden history of Palestinian collaboration with Israelis—and of the Arab resistance to it. Cohen's previous book, the highly acclaimed Army of Shadows,told how this hidden history played out from 1917 to 1948, and now, in Good Arabs he focuses on the system of collaborators established by Israel in each and every Arab community after the 1948 war. Covering a broad spectrum of attitudes and behaviors, Cohen brings together the stories of activists, mukhtars, collaborators, teachers, and sheikhs, telling how Israeli security agencies penetrated Arab communities, how they obtained collaboration, how national activists fought them, and how deeply this activity influenced daily life. When this book was first published in Hebrew, it became a bestseller and has evoked bitter memories and intense discussions among Palestinians in Israel and prompted the reclassification of many of the hundreds of documents Cohen viewed to uncover a story that continues to unfold to this day.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

...In recent years, thousands of police files stored in the Israel State Archives have been opened to the public. These include files from the Israel Police’s central headquarters and its divisions, from district headquarters, and from police stations all over the country. They are gold mines for students of Israeli society and history. The material is, in many cases...

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pp. xiii-xiv

...I wish to thank the Harry S. Truman Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Department of Middle East Studies at Ben Gurion University in the Negev, and the Budgeting and Planning Committee...

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pp. 1-10

...Arab neighbors at the end of the war in which it was born, the Jewish state found itself with an unwelcome 156,000 Arabs, approximately 15 percent of the new country’s population. At the same time, these Arabs found that they were citizens of a state whose creation they had largely opposed and against which the Arab world had launched a war just two years earlier. The Israeli authorities, lacking any experience of governance...

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1. Beginning a Beautiful Friendship

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pp. 11-38

...An unexpected welcome awaited officers of the Israel Defense Forces, the Israel Police, and the military government when they entered Taybe in May 1949. Taybe, like the other Palestinian Arab villages in the area constituting “the Triangle” in the central part of the country, had been annexed to Israel under the terms of the Rhodes Agreements...

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2. Communists vs.the Military Government,Collaborators vs. Communists

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pp. 39-64

...Such letters informing on compatriots were not unusual in Israel’s Arab villages in the 1950s and 1960s. Some reported on people who provided safe houses for infiltrators, and others turned in Arabs who owned weapons. Some fingered inhabitants of their village who had engaged in combat against Israel in the 1948 war or who worked in the black market...

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3. Boundary Breakers

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pp. 65-94

...village of Bi῾neh, in the Upper Galilee, searching for infiltrators who had crossed over from Lebanon. The policemen headed for the home of Bulus Hanna Bulus, a veteran Arab nationalist and a member of the Communist Party. Bulus’s sister, Ibtihaj, wife of the party secretary in the Galilee, Ramzi Khuri, was also in the house at the time. She herself was a refugee...

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4. The Land

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pp. 95-122

...families. Thus, Israel’s efforts to prevent this became a central bone of contention between the state and its minority population, impinging on the daily and family lives of many Arabs. But the Arabs enjoyed no little success. According to government figures, 20,500 infiltrators who entered Israel between the end of the 1948 war and October 1953 were allowed to remain...

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5. The Battle of the Narrative

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pp. 123-158

...Hasan and named for the Arabic and Hebrew words for “independence,” is set in his home village, Mash-had, in the Galilee. In the film, his mother recalls a period when the village, like all other Arab villages in the Galilee, the Triangle, and the Negev, was under military rule. As a schoolteacher, she was expected by the regime to mold her pupils into loyal Israeli citizens. So she taught them about the state’s achievements and danced...

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6. Minorities within a Minority

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pp. 159-194

...One morning in February 1956, IDF Corporal Moshe Yefet, who served in the military government, arrived in Yarka, a Druze village in the Galilee. He went by the home of the village’s mukhtar, Sheikh Marzuq Sa῾id Mu῾adi, and the two of them set out together to hand out induction orders to the village’s young men. When they reached the home of Suleiman Sirhan...

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7. Circles of Control,Circles of Resistance

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pp. 195-230

...In May 1921, Arabs from the villages on the Sharon plain, north of Tel Aviv, attacked the surrounding Jewish settlements. In Palestinian historical literature, this offensive is considered the beginning of organized Palestinian resistance to Zionism. Hundreds of villagers and Bedouin from the Sharon and Bani Sa῾b area mustered in ῾Azzun, a village on the...

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pp. 231-238

...Jewish state — have involved the dilemma of how to relate to the state of Israel and its institutions, a dilemma that still faces each one of them. This is not just a question of identification, in the standard formulation of Israel’s public opinion pollsters: “Do you feel more Israeli or more Arab/Palestinian?” or in its theoretical formulation: “Do I owe loyalty to a state that...


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pp. 239-264


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pp. 265-268


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pp. 269-281

Production Notes

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p. 282-282

E-ISBN-13: 9780520944886
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520257672

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2010