PM defends absence of Russian minister

Opposition asks why this is the first government in 10 years with no Russians.

solodkin  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, forced to explain on Wednesday why his government did not include immigrant representatives, said that he would not make appointments on the basis of sectors, saying if he started with one sector, there would always be more sectors demanding representation. He expressed confidence that "Our country is mature enough to see the rich human mosaic with which we have been blessed." He noted that immigrant ministers, claiming to represent the olim, were not usually the ones who benefited that sector. Referring to MK Natan Sharansky (Likud), without mentioning his name, was never vocal about immigrant issues, but when he resigned from the government, it was over the disengagement from the Gaza Strip. Sharansky, who addressed the plenum earlier, asserted that Olmert's government practiced not affirmative, but negative action. The Russian-born MK noted that out of the top 17 slots on the Kadima list, two were not given governmental positions - one of these was MK Marina Solodkin, who was elected as representative of the immigrants. The discussion was initiated by MKs Gideon Sa'ar (Likud) and Yuri Stern (Israel Beiteinu), and was signed by 40 opposition members. "There has been great harm done to the immigrant public because of lack of immigrant representation in the government,"Gideon Sa'ar told The Jerusalem Post. "This manifests itself in the significant cuts to the budget for immigrant absorption. Some four weeks ago, Solodkin abstained from voting for the current government in protest of the absence of ministers from the immigrant sector.