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MK Raleb Majadele greeting friends in his office in the Knesset on Thursday. (AP)
Last update - 09:26 12/01/2007
Lieberman calls on Peretz to quit over appointment of first Arab minister
By Mazal Mualem, Gideon Alon and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

Minister for Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday called on Amir Peretz to resign the defense portfolio over his appointment of Israel's first Arab minister, saying Peretz was unfit to hold the post.

Lieberman said that Peretz had abused his role as defense minister, and used the apparatus of the state for his own ends in the Labor Party primaries, and as such was not worthy of holding the position.

Lieberman's comments followed condemnation of the appointment by the chairman of Knesset faction of his Yisrael Beiteinu party, MK Esterina Tartman, who lambasted the move as "a lethal blow to Zionism."

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She told Israel Radio that Labor MK Raleb Majadele's appointment as minister of science and technology damages "Israel's character as a Jewish state."

"We need to destroy this affliction from within ourselves. God willing, God will come to our help," she said.

Tartman's remarks were widely condemned by lawmakers from across the political spectrum. Majadele later said that her comments did not merit a response.

Tartman also said Peretz only made Majadele minister because the MK is an Arab, and to strengthen Peretz's power within Labor.

"Peretz is making a sacrifice of Zionism," she said. "He has crossed all the red lines. Israel is a Jewish state and should be run according to Jewish principles."

Tartman insisted that she did not have anything personal against Majadele, but objected to his appointment in principle.

"This is assimilation," She said. "I call on the prime minister not to approve this appointment, not for personal reasons, but in order to protect the state of Israel's interest as a Jewish and Zionist state."

MK Michael Eitan (Likud) called for a Knesset debate on what he termed Tartman's racist comments.

He said that he "rejected with disgust Tartman's racist pronouncements. The Zionism of Herzl, Jabotinsky and Begin always advocated the integration of Arabs who are loyal to the state in all of its institutions on the basis of equality. Tartman's statements are such that no believer in equality and democracy can accept them being on the agenda."

Labor MKs, including Danny Yatom and Yoram Marciano, called for Peretz to convene party institutions to reconsider Labor's continued participation in the coalition following Tartman's remarks.

Yatom said her comments show that Peretz and the ministers erred in choosing Knesset seats over ideology.

Marciano, head of the Labor faction in the Knesset, called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to oust Yisrael Beiteinu from the coalition, and for Labor to reconsider whether it can "sit in the government with this racist party."

"These remarks are an insult to the Knesset, to democracy and to the state," MK Nadia Hilo (Labor) said. "If they are acceptable to Yisrael Beiteinu, then it should leave the government. Arab citizens did not receive citizenship through the grace of Yisrael Beiteinu."

Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin called on Labor to condition its participation in the government on the removal of Yisrael Beiteinu.

He added that the racist remarks that Tartman made, an issue which Yisrael Beiteinu should "confront internally," are extremely serious, and urged Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to check whether there is legal justification for opening a criminal investigation over the remarks.

MK Magali Wahaba (Kadima) said, " I regret that there are still people who instead of speaking of cooperation, continue to speak in a racist tone. Such people must be removed from our midst," he said.

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  1.   Ahh yes a true democracy. As long as you are Jewish 16:34  |  Guy From NYC 11/01/07
  2.   I am very right wing.... 16:40  |  Always vote right 11/01/07
  3.   Tartman 16:52  |  Avi Yerushalmi 11/01/07
  4.   this is zionism 16:55  |  avramele 11/01/07
  5.   Lethal blows 16:56  |  David Kat 11/01/07
  6.   One more point 17:00  |  Avi Yerushalami 11/01/07
  7.   Tartman 17:04  |  Darius Krakmeister 11/01/07
  8.   Why aren`t 3 Arab Balad MKs in court yet? 17:06  |  Shimon 11/01/07
  9.   Let make this clear 17:18  |  Jack 11/01/07
  10.   what an attractive woman 17:18  |  anthony deobani 11/01/07
  11.   Arrest her! 17:18  |  Jews for peace 11/01/07
  12.   MK Tartman 17:19  |  Igor 11/01/07
  13.   echoes of nazi Germany 17:21  |  maverick 11/01/07
  14.   Guy in NYC 17:23  |  Rob from Montreal 11/01/07
  15.   A maturing nation 17:25  |  Nathaniel 11/01/07
  16.   Typical headlining 17:28  |  Nik Miller 11/01/07
  17.   Says ms Tartman from Minsk 17:31  |  Yaakov Sullivan 11/01/07
  18.   the man is not qualified to be minister of science and technology 17:31  |  David G 11/01/07
  19.   MK Tartman: Appointment of Arab minister is `lethal blow to Zioni 17:37  |  Ilya 11/01/07
  20.   Arab MK was the deciding vote on Gaza transfer 17:39  |  Bimmer 11/01/07
  21.   Ashke-Nazis 17:40  |  Avrum 11/01/07
  22.   Rob From Montreal 17:43  |  Guy From NYC 11/01/07
  23.   ARAB MKS AND MINISTERS 17:44  |  fish 11/01/07
  24.   the left & arabs allways say their thing let Tratman say hers 17:44  |  zionist forever 11/01/07
  25.   Just imagine 17:44  |  Axel 11/01/07
  26.   de javous 17:45  |  ex-Israeli 11/01/07
  27.   Step by Step to our demise 17:46  |  Steven 11/01/07
  28.   Israeli Psychology 17:59  |  Harry D 11/01/07
  29.   re:# 1 guy in new york,name me anywhere in the middleast that a 18:03  |  terrornator 11/01/07
  30.   I like her 18:04  |  Jeremy 11/01/07
  31.   `Tartman`s` - Lethal blow to Zionism 18:05  |  YYBA 11/01/07
  32.   To Avrum #21 18:09  |  Gene 11/01/07
  33.   #28: Harry D: Are you serious? 18:11  |  Stephen Murray 11/01/07
  34.   self-hating jews 18:12  |  teez el-nabi 11/01/07
  35.   Any blow is a good to Zionism 18:15  |  L A 11/01/07
  36.   Jewish Minister in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia...? 18:25  |  Joshua Ben David 11/01/07
  37.   Arab Minister 18:28  |  David 11/01/07
  38.   I`m not surprised 18:29  |  David 11/01/07
  39.   Terrornator 18:30  |  Guy From NYC 11/01/07
  40.   yes we do, mr. el-nabi 18:44  |  Pssd Off American 11/01/07
  41.   Zionism, Tartman and #35. 18:53  |  Vital 11/01/07
  42.   to guy from NYC- your falicious argument Part I 18:58  |  Bimmer 11/01/07
  43.   Peretz understands Zionism more than Mr. Lieberman--at least i th 19:00  |  bob 11/01/07
  44.   what the jews had prayed for 1900 yrs 19:02  |  Ben Uziel 11/01/07
  45.   #41, today Eurabia, tomorrow Amerabia ??? 19:03  |  Ahmed Abu-Ali 11/01/07
  46.   Joshua Ben David: Jewish Minister in Egypt 19:03  |  Yaron 11/01/07
  47.   What a shame 19:10  |  Yaron 11/01/07
  48.   To #35, ZIONISM IS THE ONLY WAY 19:11  |  Steve 11/01/07
  49.   Bimmer 19:12  |  Guy From NYC 11/01/07
  50.   to NYC guy - Part II 19:13  |  Bimmer 11/01/07
  51.   18# David G is right 19:18  |  Nora 11/01/07
  52.   Is Zionism racism? 19:19  |  Janice 11/01/07
  53.   Guy from NYC 19:20  |  Barry 11/01/07
  54.   Lieberman`s party -- go out of the government 19:24  |  Shlomo from Tel Aviv 11/01/07
  55.   Majadele isn`t even qualified- barely finished high school 19:35  |  Shmuel 11/01/07
  56.   36# Ben David is right 19:35  |  Nora 11/01/07
  57.   This is too funny, mobster Lieberman from Moldovo 19:36  |  Joe 11/01/07
  58.   # 42 bimmer 19:37  |  Axel 11/01/07
  59.   to bimmer,thanks for helping me explain it to "guy in new york" 19:39  |  terrornator 11/01/07
  60.   Present Government Commits Treason 19:39  |  J 11/01/07
  61.   guy from new york 19:39  |  avi 11/01/07
  62.   Raleb Majadele minister of science? 19:40  |  Gene 11/01/07
  63.   #22 Guy from NYC 19:41  |  Rob 11/01/07
  64.   Lieberman is right 19:42  |  Brod 11/01/07
  65.   Hyprocrates 19:42  |  avi 11/01/07
  66.   Treason III 19:48  |  J 11/01/07
  67.   anti-facist fighters 19:55  |  Yehuda 11/01/07
  68.   Re: #44 "what the jews had prayed for 1900 yrs" 20:08  |  Rob in Vancouver 11/01/07
  69.   Haaretz puts Jews to shame 20:20  |  Nephtaly 11/01/07
  70.   #48 Your a fool 20:23  |  L A 11/01/07
  71.   Leiberman Should Quit for Being Racist (and stupid) 20:24  |  Jane 11/01/07
  72.   Aliens exist 20:25  |  Realistic Arab 11/01/07
  73.   given the threats that Israel faces... 20:26  |  Avi II 11/01/07
  74.   Lieberman commnets on appontment 20:28  |  Dima 11/01/07
  75.   Of course this is a "`lethal blow to Zionism" 20:33  |  Marlene 11/01/07
  76.   # 44 ben uziel 20:37  |  Axel 11/01/07
  77.   Pluralistic Democracy or Jewish Theocracy? 20:43  |  Moshe 11/01/07
  78.   Just imagine Axel you were sitting in a glass house 20:45  |  krystal 11/01/07
  79.   KAHANE WAS RIGHT- OLMERT IS A DEFEATIST 20:50  |  DAN ROSENTHAL 11/01/07
  80.   Lieberman wants to let Palestinian Muslims have their own state 20:51  |  AV 11/01/07
  81.   14% of israeli arabs involved in terrorism says intelligence 20:56  |  topanaga 11/01/07
  82.   To "Guy from NY" No. 1 20:57  |  Marlene 11/01/07
  83.   Why Druz are different from Muslims 21:00  |  AV 11/01/07
  84.   racist state 21:05  |  Jeff 11/01/07
  85.   ISRAEL...LEARN FROM INDIA 21:07  |  MITRA 11/01/07
  86.   # 26 de javous 21:10  |  Weber von Goetz 11/01/07
  87.   Lieberman calls on Peretz to quit over appointment of first Arab 21:12  |  Galvin Templar 11/01/07
  88.   # 78 krystal 21:18  |  Axel 11/01/07
  89.   #1 The first comment is from the Guy from NYC 21:23  |  TOMY 11/01/07
  90.   Me thinks I found a racist 21:27  |  Jerusalem Shmuel 11/01/07
  91.   to #58 and #59 alex and torrenator 21:29  |  Bimmer 11/01/07
  92.   Jewish Minister in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia...? 21:31  |  sacha 11/01/07
  93.   One more step to Gentilistan and the death of the Jewish state 21:44  |  Yacov 11/01/07
  94.   I hope this isn`t true 21:52  |  Ben Azai 11/01/07
  95.   Racists are living in each country of this world..... 21:55  |  Swiss (Dino) 11/01/07
  96.   Either they are or they aren`t 21:55  |  Sherlock Holmes 11/01/07
  97.   Doing the anti-Israel lobby`s work for them. 21:59  |  Joseph 11/01/07
  98.   Lieberman and Tartman are.... 22:03  |  World Jew 11/01/07
  99.   Peretz - symbol of Israel distraction 22:30  |  Observer 11/01/07
  100.   Lieberman is what Israel is not About 22:31  |  Markus 11/01/07
  101.   arab minister 22:31  |  Dave 11/01/07
  102.   re Rob at montreal 22:35  |  Billy Jack 11/01/07
  103.   to #36 Joshua BD 22:37  |  B`Galil 11/01/07
  104.   26# de javous 22:39  |  Arik 11/01/07
  105.   #71 - maybe you didn`t read the whole article ? 22:42  |  redmike 11/01/07
  106.   Racism at its finest. 22:42  |  Rupert 11/01/07
  107.   Thank God North American press not reporting. 22:44  |  Billy Jack 11/01/07
  108.   # 84 Swiss (dino) 22:59  |  Axel 11/01/07
  109.   Lieberman just announced: he will vote FOR this Muslim 23:02  |  AV 11/01/07
  110.   Lieberman will vote to CONFIRM Muslim as minister of science! 23:21  |  AV 11/01/07
  111.   Appointing Unqualified Ministers 23:33  |  Efox 11/01/07
  112.   Update on an Arab Israeli MK traitor 23:39  |  Bimmer 11/01/07
  113.   Aren`t there Enough Arab States? 23:40  |  Efox 11/01/07
  114.   Arab Minister 23:40  |  n_erber 11/01/07
  115.   re: MITRA on Vanishing India 23:46  |  Efox 11/01/07
  116.   Plain racist, sue `em 23:52  |  Martijn 11/01/07
  117.   Looks like a classic case for Abe Foxman and his ADL..... 23:53  |  Swiss (Dino) 11/01/07
  118.   78# crystal 23:56  |  Arik 11/01/07
  119.   to bimmer # 89,actually its terrornator,but anyhow,i sent two 00:03  |  terrornator 12/01/07
  120.   # 89 bimmer 00:03  |  Axel 12/01/07
  121.   This is the real story. Not the twisted version of Haaretz. 00:06  |  common sense 12/01/07
  122.   guy from NYC #1 00:07  |  citizen zero 12/01/07
  123.   to # 45 re:eurabia and amerabia,its too late,after 9/11 00:11  |  terrornator 12/01/07
  124.   Response to Stephen Murray-Ofcourse I`m Serious 00:25  |  Harry D 12/01/07
  125.   racist filth 00:29  |  david 12/01/07
  126.   Arab citizens need to have their needs met 00:29  |  Yael 12/01/07
  127.   Teez Al-Nabi 00:35  |  Harry D 12/01/07
  128.   #102 Billy Jack 00:48  |  Rob from Montreal 12/01/07
  129.   joshua ben david 00:58  |  rafiq 12/01/07
  130.   A lethal bloe to Zionism 00:58  |  bob pivarnick 12/01/07
  131.   #90 Schmuel 01:19  |  Hastaroth 12/01/07
  132.   Palestinian Muslims DONT need Jerusalem as a capital 01:25  |  AV 12/01/07
  133.   LEIBERMAN DOES NOT REPRESENT JEWS 01:31  |  Needham 12/01/07
  134.   #17 Turncoat Sullivan is at it again 01:34  |  * BEN JABO 12/01/07
  135.   #1 Guy from NYC (so he sez) 01:38  |  * BEN JABO 12/01/07
  136.   It is time to deport Labor and Kadima parties to Nigeria 01:44  |  Sal 12/01/07
  137.   To those who call explusion of traitors racist 01:47  |  Bimmer 12/01/07
  138.   confusing 01:49  |  lena 12/01/07
  139.   blah blah blah 01:49  |  rich 12/01/07
  140.   Citizen zero...you are somewhat confused 122 01:55  |  Marlene 12/01/07
  141.   Yisrael Beiteinu is finished 01:57  |  Bruce 12/01/07
  142.   I am a Russian Jew Israeli 01:59  |  Dr. Ari Nir 12/01/07
  143.   Racist filth is correct No. 125 02:03  |  Marlene 12/01/07
  144.   #29 terrornator - Iran is where a jew could be part of the Govt 02:05  |  Pablo B 12/01/07
  145.   AV #110, Then Lieberman need to watch himself 02:08  |  Bruce 12/01/07
  146.   #36 02:09  |  jimmy 12/01/07
  147.   Lieberman - Quit Now 02:10  |  ussishkin 12/01/07
  148.   Reply to Murray # 33 02:30  |  Assaf 12/01/07
  149.   A similar attitude found among another Russian Israeli 02:32  |  Noam 12/01/07
  150.   Need More Proof That Racism Rampant In Israel? 02:41  |  Fred Farkelsteinman 12/01/07
  151.   Dear Mr. Murray of Amsterdam 02:46  |  Guy 12/01/07
  152.   Racist remarks 02:54  |  TonyL 12/01/07
  153.   need any more proof... 02:55  |  Sherlock Holmes 12/01/07
  154.   Jewish ministers in Arab countries 02:56  |  Dan 12/01/07
  155.   David: Racist Filth 03:01  |  Guy From NYC 12/01/07
  156.   In a democracy 03:10  |  Chris Linthwaite 12/01/07
  157.   THIS IS THE MOMENT OF TRUTH-WHICH PARTY IS FOR A JEWISH STATE 03:22  |  MEIR WEINSTEIN 12/01/07
  158.   Racist remarks 03:31  |  Dan 12/01/07
  159.   Israel is a multi-cultural country. So accept it. 03:56  |  Timothy 12/01/07
  160.   To all the left wing jews and the anti Israel europeans 04:17  |  Avi 12/01/07
  161.   Here`s the BIG problem with the Nazi analogy 04:44  |  Hansen 12/01/07
  162.   To DAN ROSENTHAL 04:49  |  Boris 12/01/07
  163.   Re#159 Timothy, You have a problem. 04:52  |  MEIR WEINSTEIN 12/01/07
  164.   Arafat had a Jewish minister 04:52  |  Boris 12/01/07
  165.   Re#160 Avi- I agree 04:55  |  MEIR WEINSTEIN 12/01/07
  166.   To AV (USA) 04:56  |  Boris 12/01/07
  167.   Concerning MK Ahmed Tibi 05:02  |  Boris 12/01/07
  168.   Re#158 Dan-there is no Appartheid 05:03  |  MEIR WEINSTEIN 12/01/07
  169.   Avi #160. I agree with you but... 05:07  |  Bruce 12/01/07
  170.   To Ari #142 05:47  |  Gene 12/01/07
  171.   better ask: what`s Peretz`s edu and experience to be MOD ? 05:59  |  Esther 12/01/07
  172.   To Sherlock Holmes 06:46  |  Dr. Moriarty 12/01/07
  173.   Bruce, you`re right 06:48  |  Avi 12/01/07
  174.   David - Don`t concern yourself with Guy from NYC 06:58  |  * BEN JABO 12/01/07
  175.   MEIR WEINSTEIN sticking together is no longer needed for survival 07:00  |  Timothy 12/01/07
  176.   #159 - Timothy Israel is multi-cultural the problem is 07:02  |  * BEN JABO 12/01/07
  177.   Guy totaly nonsense 07:07  |  Aby 12/01/07
  178.   Response to Timothy 07:10  |  Harry D 12/01/07
  179.   re: #26 ex-Israeli 07:34  |  Richie 12/01/07
  180.   Israel was founded to be a state for all Jews 07:44  |  Ben David 12/01/07
  181.   Lieberman and Esterina 08:15  |  Esther 12/01/07
  182.   The funniest "democracy" of the world 08:28  |  Petteri 12/01/07
  183.   What to think and how to feel? 09:10  |  Israeli arab 12/01/07
  184.   Efox - president of india is a Moslem 09:57  |  MITRA 12/01/07
  185.   israeli arab from haifa 10:23  |  yirmiyahu 12/01/07
  186.   #182 Petteri, you`re right, we are the funniest democracy on eart 12:57  |  Avi 12/01/07
  187.   Dear Israeli Arab - No. 183 20:13  |  Marlene 12/01/07
  188.   India is not a true democracy! 20:56  |  kovslishkov 12/01/07
  189.   PEACE IS A ILLUSION 21:09  |  Kovslishkov 12/01/07
  190.   to 189 23:15  |  Iranian-swedish 12/01/07
  191.   #183 - Israeli Arab from Haifa - During the 02:37  |  * BEN JABO 13/01/07
  192.   Reply to BEN JABO #176 06:55  |  Timothy 13/01/07
  193.   Apartheid 07:16  |  Les Pauls 13/01/07
  194.   #192 Timothy - Define Palestine from where to where 17:46  |  * BEN JABO 13/01/07
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