On June 1, 1951, exactly 70 years ago, the Acre Military Government was dissolved, after three years in which the city was under a strict regime based on the Defense Regulations. As evidenced in a letter written by the city’s first Jewish mayor, not everyone was thrilled with the news.

Seventy years ago today, on June 1, 1951, the Military Rule in the city of Acre came to an end. Surprisingly, one of the key opponents of the dissolution and transition to civilian governance was the city’s first Jewish mayor, Baruch Noy, who took office in 1949 and briefly served as the city’s military governor as well. Noy remained in office until 1952 when he was dismissed over allegations of misuse of city funds. During his term as mayor, the formerly Palestinian city that was largely depopulated during the war absorbed new Jewish immigrants, and became a “mixed city.” Today, more than 60% of the city’s population is Jewish.

In the letter Mayor Noy sent the Ministry of Interior in February 1951, which is posted here, he briefly states his objection to ending the Military Rule in Acre, which was due to take place in the coming months. Noy provides two reasons for his opposition: first, he feared that the abolition of the Military Rule and the transfer of its elaborate bureaucracy to Nazareth would hurt the city’s economy, partly given that more than 50 communities in the area relied on Acre as a commercial and administrative hub. Second, Noy explained: “We believe that due to security reasons as well, it [the abolition of the Military Rule] is premature, and we are still interested in remaining under the Military Rule” (emphasis added).

Noy’s second reason warrants a closer look. To whom was the mayor referring when he stated “we” were interested in continuing to live under the boot of the Military Rule? When Noy wrote his letter, and in the months that followed, Acre’s Palestinian residents were constantly and closely watched by the Military Rule and the police, who monitored their movements, statements, and actions. A “Bi-Weekly Report on Arab Affairs,” put out by the Acre Police Station on June 16, 1951, about two weeks after the abolition of the Military Rule in the city, offers a glimpse into the close monitoring of Palestinian residents. An Acre police officer reports about an assembly held after the abolition of the Military Rule by Jewish and Arab residents in the Old City of Acre, where most of the Palestinian residents lived. Along with satisfaction over the demise of the Military Rule, some called for the removal of the city’s mayor over his discriminatory policies against the city’s Palestinian residents: “Look at what the mayor of Acre is doing in the new city of Acre – opening roads, lighting streets, while the Old City remains in darkness, without lights, and nothing has been repaired yet in the Old City.”

Palestinians were not the only ones complaining about Noy’s discriminatory policies. His own party, Mapai, held a discussion about his actions, during which an allegation was made that he had built a road specifically for his home. As further allegations against Noy accumulated, he was ultimately removed from office in 1952. Earlier, Noy’s request to reconsider the revocation of the Military Rule was denied, and as stated, the Military Rule over Acre was canceled in June 1951. It remained in place in other parts of the country where Palestinians lived, closely monitoring their movements for 15 more years, until it was finally abolished in December 1966.


Mayor of Acre to Ministry of Interior
February 5, 1951

Bi-Weekly Report on Arab Affairs
June 16, 1951