Sunday, January 28, 2007

Shadow of Middle East’s Shining Democracy

The Jewish state’s claims of a shining democracy have been darkened by the same aspects hiding in America’s historical shadow, discrimination and corruption. President Bush came out strongly against such government practices last fall, despite widespread evidence of influence pedaling under his Republican led Congress.

Two BBC news stories drive home Israel’s failure to live up to the President’s exhortations. One cites elected leaders consistently getting in trouble for corruption over time. Current Prime Minister Olmert is under the microscope for a bank deal.

The second article celebrates the first ever appointment of an Arab to the Israeli Cabinet. Despite comprising 20% of Israel’s population, a person of Arab descent had never been tapped to serve. Raleb Majadele will serve as Minister without Portfolio. His appointment was opposed by another recent cabinet appointment, Avigdor Lieberman to Minister of Strategic Affairs. Mr. Lieberman is an avid separatist wanting to drive all Arabs out of Israel.

In a rationale similar to kinder American slave owners, Israeli representatives suggest Arabs have more rights in the Jewish State than they have elsewhere in the Middle East. Maybe, but do they have the same rights as other Israeli citizens? They don’t according to the U.S. State Department website which indicates Israeli Arabs are discriminated against in housing and jobs.

However it isn’t the first time the Israeli cabinet reached out to a minority. In 2001 a Druze was appointed to the same position of Minister without Portfolio. He resigned shortly afterward after being indicted on corruption charges.

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