Sunday, January 28, 2007

Step in the right direction for Israel

AOG, Madrid

The Israeli government has approved by a large margin the apointment of Raleb Majadele (aka Galeb Magadla) as Minister of Science, Culture and Sport. He is Israel's first Arab Muslim minister since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. Majadele told Israeli Army Radio that the move would help Israel's Arab citizens identify more strongly with the Jewish state. "The first step has been taken and this has given Israeli Arabs a feeling of belonging", he said.

Needless to say, his appointment has caused more than just raised eyebrows in Jerusalem. MP Esterina Tartman, a member of the ultranationalist party Ysrael Beiteinu (Israel is our home), criticised Mr. Majadele´s appointment calling it a "lethal blow to Zionism" and saying it went against "the Jewish character of the State".

Her comments, thankfully, have been dismissed as a "
racist" declaration by Israel's parliament. Mr. Yoram Marciano, leader of Labour's parliamentary block, demanded of Israel's Prime Minister, Yehud Olmert, the expulsion of Ms. Tartman's party from his government coalition following her comments.

Mr. Majadele, who belongs to Israel's arab community- over one million strong (and 90% Muslim) in a country of only seven million people- was first put forward by Mr. Amir Peretz, leader of the Labour Party and Minister of Defense, to take up a place within Israel's Council of Ministers.

I can but congratulate Israel for having taken this great step forward. I hope it only serves as precedent and that Mr. Majadele's appointment will help the political situation between Israel and the Palestinians. Well done Israel! (for once!)

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