Nephew of Yuli Tamir's Advisor in Line for Key Appointment

The Ministry of Education may appoint a relative of Education Minister Yuli Tamir's aide to a senior position in the ministry's Arab sector in contradiction of the law, community sources said yesterday.

Amin Muktran, who is the nephew of Yuli Tamir's Arab sector aide Fadel Ibrahim, will today be informed by the ministry whether he has been selected as its supervisor in the north's non-Jewish educational system.

The ministry's charter bars it from hiring people to positions in which they are expected to work with their relatives.

"We're constantly being lectured on how appointments in the Arab sector are problematic and nepotistic," one source said. "But now there are fears that such considerations may have influenced this tender. There's a sense of disrespect and disregard for norms that should be upheld."

Some 300,000 students, mostly Arab, Bedouin and Druze, are enrolled in the non-Jewish education system in the north of the country. The supervisor's capacity is to oversee the system's functioning, hold professional forums and influence the choice of school principals.

"It's a job that necessitates dealing with pressure and politics, and appointing officials," a source in the Arab educational sector said.

An Education Ministry spokesperson said in response yesterday that Muktran's candidacy was scrutinized by the civil service, which decided he was eligible for the position. "Also, it found that there is no fear of a hierarchal relationship between the two," the spokesperson said. "Should Muktran be selected, the civil service will closely inspect his functioning to prevent possible misconduct."

Last month, Education Minister Yuli Tamir allegedly violated the law that prevents state employees from involvement in politics when her aide Ibrahim held a rally for Labor party members and supporters at his home in the Galilee town of Dabburiya.

A person who attended the rally at the house of Arab sector educational advisor Fadal Ibrahim said Tamir asked attendants to register for the party's primary election, should a date for such an election be set.

Tamir's office confirmed that the rally took place, but insisted that it dealt solely with educational issues concerning the Arab sector. "Mayors, members of the teachers' unions and education officials were invited to hear about preparations for the start of the school year," an official said on behalf of Tamir. "For convenience's sake it was held at the house of the aide."

Ibrahim has been a member of the Labor party for many years, and heads the Histadrut labor union's committee in his hometown. He was appointed to the position of Arab sector advisor to Tamir after she was appointed education minister. In that capacity he attends ministerial meetings in Jerusalem and offers advice on issues pertaining to education among Israeli Arabs. Despite his participation in the ministry's work, he also offers Tamir the political support of Arab members of the Labor party. He allegedly invited many important Labor activists to his house in order to enlist their support for Tamir.