The dispute over rebuking Science, Culture and Sports Minister Raleb Majadele (Labor) for his absence of Sunday's cabinet meeting
regarding the IDF's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza is escalating.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
has decided not to approve the Muslim minister's trip to Jordan scheduled for Wednesday.
On Sunday, before the cabinet meeting and after a talk with Olmert, Cabinet Secretary Oved Yehezkel contacted Majadele to express the prime minister's displeasure with his decision, saying, "You have made a very wrong decision. The prime minister finds this unacceptable."
Later Sunday, Yehezkel said, "This is some nerve. The State of Israel
is out defending its residents and its sovereignty and an Israeli minister boycotts the meeting dealing with reserve drafts. Above all, he is a minister in the Israeli government that is in the middle of combat."
Following the incident, Olmert ordered the cabinet secretary on Sunday not to ask the minister's to approve Majadele's request to travel to Jordan.
Official sources in the Prime Minister's Office said Olmert would not approve the trip and that the proceedings following Majadele's boycott of the government meeting were still underway.
Minister Majadele's office said in response, "The minister does not wish to comment on the Prime Minister's Office's claims and the cabinet secretary's harsh statements. Regarding the trip to Jordan, Olmert's Office is boarding a train that has already left on its way.
"Even before the cabinet meeting the Jordanians notified the minister that in light of the Gaza operation,
they wished to postpone his visit. Furthermore, the Shin Bet also recommended the minister stay put due to the current circumstances.
"Actually, the decision to cancel the trip was not made by the prime minister."