|It was in 1966, under the Government of Levi Eshkol, that the Military Government was abolished. The Military Regime was consisted of a complicated network of security-related and civil arrangements, based on the 1945 Defence (Emergency) Regulations.
The Military Regime was imposed on the districts in the State of Israel that had a high concentration of Arabs after the 1948 war in order to neutralize them as a potential security threat to the young country and also to limit their movement and ability to protest, in various fashions, against the official and unofficial policies introduced by the various agencies of the state and those whom it charged to enforce its regulations.
On May 19, 1948, the Provisional Council of State proclaimed a national state of emergency. Accordingly it imposed a Military Regime on Arab-populated districts in accordance with the recommendation of the Chief of the General Staff and with the consent of the Minister of Defense. The Military Regime bureaucracy was set up in September 1948 and given jurisdiction over the Arab-populated districts (Galilee, the Triangle, the Negev, and the towns of Ramla, Jaffa, and Lod). Formally it was divided in three regions north, central, and south (Negev) and imposed restrictions, based on the Defense (Emergency Regulations) whose main points were:
In practice, the military governors and their subordinates in the field far exceeded the authority granted them by the law. They adopted severe measures of exile and transfer and restrictions of movement against any manifestation of protest against official policy. There were also many cases of corruption and exploitation of residents who were dependent on the good will of the governor and his subordinates. Many documents and texts of the Military Regime note that the government also had political goals, of which the most important were deterring the Arabs from joining the Israel Communist Party or readings its organs and posters, as well as from joining any of the Arab nationalist political groupings that were established in that period by Nasserites. Other goals included limiting the activities among the Arabs of Mapai's partisan-political rivals in the Jewish sector and encouraging massive Arab support for Mapai or its satellite parties, which were set up in that period at the initiative of its Arab experts, with the sole purpose of winning votes.
The abolition of the Military Regime by Levi Eshkol did not lead to an immediate and significant change in the pattern of the relations between the state and its Arab citizens. Traces of the control policies implemented by the Military Regime can still be found today (1997).
Nevertheless, the abolition of the Military Regime made a major contribution to the Arab's slow liberation from its shadow and the restrictions it imposed. In practice, the Arabs were now free to move about and integrated better into the Israeli economy. We have seen the development of a process of political pluralism and militant protests against government policy towards the Arabs. With regard to the Palestinian issue in general, they have felt freer to assume for themselves a Palestinian national identity and to be directed by young and active leaders. They now have more room for significant political maneuvering on the national level.