While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sparred with Defense Minister Amir Peretz over the appointment of Labor MK Ghaleb Majadle as the first Arab cabinet minister, MKs who have worked closely with Majadle questioned on Sunday whether the he was "qualified" to hold a cabinet post.
Majadle, who serves as head of the Knesset Committee on the Interior and Environment, has been accused of "biased policies" and mismanagement by several of the MKs who have served on the committee with him.
"Forget whether he's an Arab or the appointment was political. Our leaders should really be asking if he is fit to run a ministry," said one committee member.
"Since he has taken over the committee, there has been a steady decrease in the level of discussion. He is a tyrant...and very hard to work with."
The MK, whose political leanings differ greatly from Majadle's, went on to criticize the Labor MK's ability to start meetings on time or control discussions. A spokesman for Majadle declined to comment on the allegations.
"Most first-time ministers don't have much experience, but they learn," said another member of the Interior Committee. "Majadle will certainly need to change some of his attitudes...but we have had worse."
Majadle's committee received an onslaught of media attention in the months leading up to last August's Gay Pride event. Majadle, who strongly opposed a parade in Jerusalem, was often criticized by left-wing MKs for the rowdy meetings during which Muslim and Jewish leaders referred to Gay Pride participants in derogatory terms.