Arab-Jewish relations within sovereign Israel have reached an unprecedented crisis. Discrimination against Arabs and the lack of any hope for a two-state solution have pushed Arab-Israelis into the arms of their brethren east of the Green Line, fighting for independence. In some ways, this could provoke a return to the pre-Israeli statehood situation.
The Israeli government perceived the Tel Aviv terror attack of Jan. 1 as a strategic warning. Gunman Neshat Melhem was driven and inspired by nationalistic and religious motives; hence the dilemma in the Cabinet room must have been whether this was an isolated incident, or the beginning of Arab-Israeli involvement in a wider Palestinian national struggle against Israel. It appears the government was already worried about the latter: The day before the attack, the Cabinet had announced a 15 billion shekel ($3.8 billion) socio-economic development plan for the Arab sector.