(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Israel's first Arab minister angered his colleagues in the cabinet on Sunday when he decided to boycott the weekly cabinet meeting to protest the IDF operations in Gaza.
Ghaleb Majadle, who was not part of the cabinet at the time of the Second Lebanon War, called upon the government that he is a part of to end the escalation in the South. He also urged Hamas to end the rocket fire on Israel.
According to Majadle, "extending the operation might bring about a collapse of the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and the Arab world."
Sources close to the science, culture and sport minister explained that he considered himself a representative of the Arabs in Israel and that he could not take part in a meeting that would authorize attacks on his brethren in the Gaza Strip.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai called upon Majadle to quit the government and the Knesset. He noted that Majadle never boycotted a cabinet meeting to protest the falling of rockets on Israeli civilians.
"If this is his opinion, he shouldn't be running for the next Knesset," Yishai said.
Likud chair Binyamin Netanyau called upon Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to fire Majadle. "A minister in Israel cannot identify with the enemy during a time of war," he said.
National Union MK Arye Eldad also called on Olmert to fire Majadle. Eldad said that in the next Knesset, he would pass a bill requiring every citizen to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
"Majadle held a demonstration in support of our Hamas enemy in Gaza," Eldad said.
"By doing so, he violated his loyalty oath that he swore to Israel when he joined the cabinet and proved that he represents Hamas in our government."
Spokesmen for Olmert and Labor chairman Ehud Barak declined to comment on Majadle's absence, as did several Labor and Kadima MKs. Majadle, who is 15th on the Labor list for the next Knesset, is considered to be powerful in Labor's central committee.
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