Israel’s First Muslim Minister

by Kevin Jon Heller

In keeping with my recent spate of hopeful posts, it’s my pleasure to mention that Israel is poised to appoint its first-ever Muslim minister:

An Arab-Israeli legislator of the centre-left
Labour Party is to become Israel’s first-ever Moslem minister,
Israeli news channels reported Wednesday night.
Labour Party head Amir Peretz has decided to appoint Raleb
Majadele from the central Arab-Israeli town of Baka el-Garbia as
science, culture and sports minister, Channel 10 and Channel 1
reported, describing the appointment as “historic.”

Peretz nominated Majadele after the previous science, culture and
sports minister, Ophir Pines, also a Labour legislator, resigned in
protest over the addition of an ultra-right party to Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert’s Kadima-led coalition.

Former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon appointed the first-ever
Arab-Israeli minister, Salah Tarif, in 2001, but he resigned in 2002
on charges of corruption. Tarif, however, is a Druze, not a Moslem.

Arab Israelis make up some 20 per cent of Israel’s population of
seven million.

Wonderful news.

2 Responses

  1. I second your sentiment. And assuming the current population growth rate of Arab Israelis remains relatively constant, I suspect this is a sign of things to come. Perhaps some day Israeli law will recognize the state as simply a democratic state (with Jews, Arabs, what have you), not ‘a Jewish and democratic state.’ As Ernest Golberger recently wrote in Logos (Winter 2006):

    ‘“Jewish character,” understood demographically, is inconsistent with principles of equal justice and democracy, leads to permanent social tensions, impairs relations with Arab and other States, and provides arguments to anti-Semites throughout the world. The price for a demographically realized “Jewish character” is naturally to be paid by the non-Jewish population. One finds this chauvinistic spirit today among extreme right-wing groups, immigrants from the former-Soviet Union, and members of the ruling Likud party, who see themselves as the descendents of the Revisionist Zionism that emerged in the twenties of the last century.’

  2. Sorry, that’s ‘Ernest Goldberger.’

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