AG Decides Against Criminal Probe Into Tartman Comments on Arab Minister

Mazuz tells Tartman to refrain from making similar comments; Tartman said Majadele appointment like 'swinging axe at trunk of Zionism.'

Attorney General Menachem Mazuz decided Monday not to open a criminal investigation into Yisrael Beiteinu MK Esterina Tartman over comments she made regarding the decision to appoint Labor MK Ghaleb Majadele as a minister.

Following the decision to appoint Majadele, Tartman told Israel Radio that the appointment of Israel's first Muslim minister is like "swinging an axe at the trunk of Zionism" and said we need to "uproot this terrible evil from among us."

Several complaints were filed against Tartman with the State Prosecutor's Office, after which the comments were examined.

Meretz Chairman Yossi Beilin, who filed one of the complaints, said "this is not another dismal comment from the Yisrael Beiteinu school, but rather a comment that is based on a racist ideological foundation that are expressed among other things in comments of the type we know from especially dark times and places."

In recent days the deputy state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan, informed Tartman that "after examining the comments, the attorney general decided not to open a criminal investigation into this matter, due among other things to the policy of minimizing prosecutions on these issues, especially regarding MKs comments."

Nonetheless, Mazuz did inform Tartman that she should refrain from making comments that can be interpreted as inciting racism, even if that is not her intention.