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October 06, 1989 - Image 37

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

where impressionable youth
are concerned."
The most immediate, most
serious, cause for concern
undoubtedly comes from the
Galilee heartland, where
acts of politically inspired
violence and hatred have
been most marked.
Professor Arnon Sofer,
dean of the humanities
faculty at Haifa University,
has been studying
demographic trends in the
Galilee for the past 25 years
and believes that in the long
run bpthe area will provide
more than a mere security
headache for Israel.
"While the Jewish popula-
tion is preoccupied with
whether to remain in the
West Bank," he says, "I am
concerned that the Arab
population is building up the
potential for a future state
— committees, sub-commit-
tees, and activities that seek
to promote the revitalization
of Arab culture.

"A monitoring of these
events," says Arnon,

"We must focus our
concern on
strengthening the
Jewish hold on all
parts of the Galilee
and placing this
concern at the
head of our
national priorities,"
asserted Ha'aretz.

"indicates a trend toward,
Arab autonomy in the
Galilee."
This process has been ac-
celerated by a demographic
reversal for Jewish Israelis.
According to recently
published official Israeli
statistics, the Jewish
population lost its majority
in the Galilee last year.
However, while the official
figures indicate a decline in
the Jewish population from
a high point of 57 percent in
the early 1980s to 49 percent
last year, Arnon believes
that the Jewish
demographic problem is far
more serious than the fig-
ures indicate.
According to Arnon's
calculations, the Jewish
population in the key central
and western regions of the
Galilee has declined to just
26 percent of the population,
while in the lowland and
Golan Heights region, it is

down to about 20 percent.
"If I believed that it were
possible to rely on the loyal-
ty of the Galilee Arabs to
Israel, I would not warn
about the dangers that are
latent in the demographic
changes. But since this is not
the case, the devotion of
maximum efforts to
populating the occupied ter-
ritories is liable to come at
the expense of the Zionist
enterprise within the Green
Line."
Increasing signs of nation-
alism point to a process that
is unstoppable, says Arnon:
"But the struggle over the
future character of the
Galilee will not be deter-
mined by stone- throwing, by
hostile slogans or
underground by cells. It will
be determined, first and
foremost, in the beds of the
maternity hospitals."
Arnon pours scorn on offi-
cial Israeli attempts to win
back the Arabs of the Galilee
with the promise of im-
provements in their quality
of life: "Whoever believes
that it is still possible to
solve the problems of the
Galilee Arabs through
money," he says, "is simply
living in a dream world."
Drawing on the experi-
ences of Canada, Northern
Ireland and the Baltic
republics, he notes: "It has
been proved that wherever
there is a small minority
that becomes a majority in
its own area of residence,
this is followed by an aspira-
tion to secede from the host
entity."
If a Palestinian state were
ultimately established in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip,
he believes, there would be a
serious move to incorporate
the Galilee.
Commenting on the threat
posed by the changing
demographic balance, the
independent daily Ha'aretz
noted last week that Israel
must seek to avoid demands
for autonomy by Galilee
Arabs, which are likely to be
accompanied by "an un-
disguised irredentist trend."
"We must focus our con-
cern on strengthening the
Jewish hold on all parts of
the Galilee and placing this
concern at the head of our
national priorities. The
Galilee must again have a
central place in the national
consciousness.
Otherwise," the paper
warned, "we are liable to
lose what we believed was
our certain possession." El

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