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Minister Raleb Majadele
Defense Minister Amir Peretz
Photo: Gil Yohanan
New Arab minister speaks of hopes for future
Newly appointed Science, Technology, Culture, and Sports Minister comments on Peretz’s move, expresses hope for similar moves in future
Israel’s first Arab minister, Science, Technology, Culture, and Sports Minister Raleb Majadele told Ynet Thursday, “I see the appointment as a historic precedent. I couldn’t refuse this opportunity.”

 

The newly appointed minister did not fail to see the connection between Defense Minister Amir Peretz’s shaky position and his appointment. “The move undoubtedly created sympathy for Amir Peretz amongst the Arab public,” he said.

 

Majadele referred to the inevitable meeting with Lieberman and said, “It’s not an easy situation, but we will deal with it.”

 

Majadele told Ynet that he was approached after former Minister Ofir Pines-Paz resigned, but that he was very hesitant and only made his decision after being approached a second time, and after having consulted with friends.

 

“I believe this is a precedent that will be written in the history of Israeli society,” he said. According to him, even those in the Knesset that dislike him would call it a great move.

 

“I hope that after this, more steps will follow. I hope that Amir Peretz’s political plan changes the situation and removes barriers,” Majadele said.

 

The new minister also mentioned a time when he made the unpopular move of joining former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. “At one time Rabin said to break the arms and legs of Palestinians. The Arabs hated him,” he said.

 

“Then they cried for him because he gave equality as prime minister, as well as peace. People cried because the Arabs lost him,” he explained. “They didn’t forget what he had said in the past, but they remembered what he gave as a prime minister.”

 

Regarding Ehud Barak’s entry into the political scene, Majadele said, “I gave Barak advice two and a half years ago on how to get closer to the Arab public. I told him: The public puts its trust in you. Go build a culture or sports center named after the 13 killed, raise donations overseas, establish a scholarship fund. That will send the Arab public a message that you are doing something worth remembering.”

 

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