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The State Attorney's Office is investigating whether remarks made by Israel Beiteinu MK Estherina Tartman against the appointment of Israeli Arab MK Ghaleb Majadle to the cabinet were a criminal violation, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz said Sunday.
In a letter to Attorney Eran Hermoni, chairman of the Labor Party Young Guard, Mazuz's assistant, Eyal Yinon, wrote that "we would like to point out that on the criminal level, MK Tartman's words are being examined by the head of the Special Tasks Division in the State Attorney's Office [Attorney Shai Nitzan]."
Hermoni had also demanded that Mazuz bar Tartman and her party, if it did not dissociate itself from her comments, from running for the Knesset in the next elections on the grounds that she had violated the anti-racism clause in the Basic Law: Knesset and the Political Parties Law. But Mazuz replied that the next election was not currently on the agenda. Should the issue arise at that time, "all the relevant facts will be considered and investigated," he said.
On January 11, in response to Defense Minister and Labor Party chairman Amir Peretz's decision to appoint the first Muslim cabinet minister in Israel's history, Tartman described the promotion of an Israeli Arab to the cabinet as an "affliction."
"When there is a problem, two types of people emerge," she said in an interview with Israel Radio. "There are the cowards who get up and run away and leave the field to the affliction, and there are the fighters who believe in principles and fight to eradicate the affliction. Israel Beiteinu belongs to the second type. We are not cowards, we don't run away from the scene and leave it open to wildness and destruction. We will be there, we will continue to be there and we will eradicate the affliction. With God's help, the Holy One Blessed Be He will be with us."
In another interview, she said, "We are cutting the stalk of Zionism with an ax. The fact that Majadle belonged to a Zionist party did not mean he had stopped being a non-Jew." She also charged that Peretz had "crossed all the red lines. Israel is a Jewish state and it is supposed to be run according to Jewish values."