January 12, 2007

Apartheid Israel plagued by fig-leaf

From the Scotsman:
ISRAEL'S first Muslim cabinet minister received a baptism of fire yesterday as an extremist Jewish coalition partner termed him a "plague" and hard-line Arab nationalists denounced him as a "fig leaf" for apartheid.

Esterina Tartman, an MP from the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party said that the appointment of Ghaleb Majadale to the post of science, culture and sport minister harms Israel's character as a Jewish state.

"We need to burn this plague out of our midst and god willing, the lord will help us with that," she told Israel Radio....

Amir Peretz, the defence minister and Labour party leader whose popularity has plummeted since Israel's failure to win last summer's war with Hezbollah, is believed to have made the appointment in order to secure the support of Mr Majadale and Arab Labour party members for his June bid for re-election as party chairman....

And a commentary on the Arab nationalist Arabs 48 website yesterday slammed Mr Majadale's appointment, terming it a "fig leaf with a hole in it".

"This is intended to beautify the picture of the apartheid state with a minister they can say is Arab, so they can claim it is a country of equality and democracy. How can Majadale accept sitting with the fascist Lieberman after a Zionist minister refused to do so?"
The significant part of this article isn't the reaction of Yisrael Beiteinu which was to expected, nor the response of the Arabs 48 website. It's the fact that Peretz made this appointment to get the backing of Arab members of Israel's Labour Party to maintain his position. It seems like only last year he needed Arabs dead to secure his position. Now he needs them alive.


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