ABSTRACT

Arab actors increasingly sought national political office through these restricted channels and, for their part, rationalized their involvement in Zionist political parties with the justification that it made strategic sense to “lean on the strong . . . and benefit from the association” (Jiryis 1976:167). Local Arab leaders were sometimes co-opted by state authorities to aid in the carrying out of policies that profited the brokers but ultimately contributed to the subjugation of the non-Jewish minority. Yet even with their largely obliging nature, Arab Members of the Knesset (MKs) were never fully trusted or treated as equal to their Jewish counterparts; they were restricted

from engaging in high level politics. Arab MKs were relegated to roles of be­ nign domestic politicking and primarily served as liaisons between local councils and Arab villagers on the one hand, and the state government and officials on the other.