Raleb Majadele, the political appointment?
If Peretz had chosen Noked they'd say he's wooing the kibbutz vote
The uproar surrounding Labor chairman Amir Peretz' appointment of Raleb Majadele as the first Arab minister in Israeli history (Science, Culture, Sports) has taken a ludicrous aspect.
Some are screaming that it's a political appointment.
So? What else is new? Exactly which appointments in government weren't political?
Let's start with the Defense minister himself, Peretz. Or the Transport ministry, Shaul Mofaz. It's ALL political, all the appointments. They are based on the relative clout of the individual politician versus that of his party chairman.
At this particular point in time, Majadele has power: the Arab members of Labor.
Majadele is the chairman of the House Committee and of the Environmental Protection Committee. He has demonstrated a sense of responsibility, by supporting the reform proposed by the Interior Affairs Ministry and the Finance Ministry regarding water and sewage treatment. But his power faltered before the pressures of the local authorities, and the reform fell through.
Amir Peretz wants him to be the minister, but there are other Knesset members slavering for the seat.
Orit Noked, representatives of the kibbutzim in the Knesset, is one. Her world view is terrifyingly anachronistic: she is anti-reforms, advocates increasing government involvement in the economy, argues for increasing the budget and for raising tax.
She would suspend the income tax reform, cancel the plan to lower corporate tax, abolish the ceiling on healthcare tax, and raise VAT back from 15.5% to 16.5%.
Majadele is the better candidate of the two.
If Peretz had wanted to appoint Noked, they'd have complained that he was groveling for the kibbutz vote. But once he chose Majadele, Noked announced she'd thrown her support behind Ehud Barak, and the secretary general of the kibbutzim announced that Amir Peretz shouldn't be allowed to touch rehabilitation of the army. What he should do, said the secretary general, is quit.
Political. It's all political, and petty politics at that.