Arab’s cabi­net ad­mis­sion de­layed

The Jewish Chronicle - - WORLD NEWS - FROM JEFF BARAK, JERUSALEM

THE AP­POINT­MENT of Is­rael’s first Arab-Mus­lim cabi­net min­is­ter, Raleb Ma­jadele, has not gone smoothly and the Labour Knes­set mem­ber is still wait­ing to take his seat around the cabi­net ta­ble.

Mr Ma­jadele was nom­i­nated to the post of min­is­ter of science, cul­ture and sport a week-and-a-half ago by Labour leader Amir Peretz, as part of the quota of Labour min­is­ters serv­ing in Prime Min­is­ter Ehud Olmert’s coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

The nom­i­na­tion was im­me­di­ately at­tacked by Es­te­rina Tart­man, chair of the Yis­rael Beit­einu fac­tion. Ms Tart­man said the ap­point­ment was like “swing­ing an axe at the tree called Ju­daism”, and that “we need to up­root this ter­ri­ble evil from among us”.

Iron­i­cally, the min­is­te­rial post to which Mr Ma­jadele was nom­i­nated be­came va­cant af­ter its pre­vi­ous holder, Ophir Pines-Paz, re­signed from the gov­ern­ment in protest at the rightwing Yis­rael Beit­einu party join­ing the coali­tion.

Mr Olmert mean­while said last week that the time had come for Is­rael to ap­point an Arab min­is­ter but nev­er­the­less de­layed ap­prov­ing the ap­point­ment, claim­ing that Mr Peretz had not pro­vided him with enough ad­vance warn­ing.

Mr Olmert’s aides have re­port­edly said that there was no guar­an­tee that Mr Ma­jadele’s ap­point­ment would be ap­proved next week ei­ther, due to Mr Olmert’s de­sire to hold a cabi­net reshuf­fle.

In re­sponse, Mr Peretz’s aides have warned of a coali­tion cri­sis.

Al­though Mr Ma­jadele would be the first Mus­lim min­is­ter, Salah Tarif, a Druze Labour MK, was ap­pointed min­is­ter with­out port­fo­lio in 2001.

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