Well, it is now official: Israel has an Arab cabinet minister. The Left, of course, dismisses it as tokenism. Some on the Right were unhappy with the idea. In particular, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party was opposed. The appointment passed the cabinet unanimously, except for Lieberman's single vote against. The new minister is Ghaleb Majadele (Labor party), who will serve as minister without portfolio (meaning he does nothing), although he wants to become minister of science, culture and sport (which would still mean he would do nothing).

The Israeli Left and the media have been having a field day attacking Lieberman and his party as "racists" for opposing the appointment of Majadele. Amir Peretz, commissar of the Labor party, has repeatedly denounced Lieberman as a "racist". You would be forgiven, if you have been reading the Israeli press, if you were under the impression that Lieberman and his entire party are little better than Russian-born Ku Klux Klansmen.

Well, almost forgiven. To understand the truth, you would have to read the small print in Haaretz in a minor inside story.

Several years ago, Israel was subjected to the Ehud Barak 2000 capitulation to the Hizbullah in Lebanon, which, as everyone knows, created no danger at all of Israel being hit with Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon. As part of that capitulation to terror, quite a few Lebanese Shiites and Christians who had cooperated with Israel in its erstwhile "Southern Lebanon Security Zone" were granted asylum inside Israel. It was clear that their lives and the lives of their families were in danger once the Hizbullah took control, with Ehud Barak's assistance, of southern Lebanon.

Other Arabs from the West Bank and Gaza who had assisted Israel in its war against terrorism were similarly granted asylum, since the PLO militias like to murder them.

They all were placed in homes in Israeli Arab towns, where their kids could attend Arabic-speaking schools; until such generosity became the focus of hatred.

In the early years of the 21st century, a series of demonstrations against these Arab "collaborators" were held in Israel by radical Arabs and by anti-Israel leftist Jews. Some of these demonstrations were quite violent. The protesters denounced those "collaborators" as traitors and "enemies of their own people," because they were "guilty" of the "crime" of having tried to help Israel fight terrorism. Haaretz was filled with denunciations of these people as "traitors".

At the time, I compared the behavior of the protesters to an imaginary set of demonstrations held in 1945 against German and Japanese informants granted residency privileges in the US as reward for helping the Allies against the Axis powers in World War II, in which the demonstrators denounced these people as traitors and "enemies of their own people." Of course, no such demonstrations were held in 1946 because there were no Americans so clearly traitorous as to dare to behave in that way.

One of the organizers of the violent demonstrations against the "collaborators" with Israel was allegedly none other than the new Arab cabinet minister himself (see http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/818769.html). A number of innocent Arabs were beaten by the pro-terror, "anti-collaborator" protesters and at least one was murdered. There have been a number of calls to block the appointment of Majadele due to his role in inciting the violence. A court petition against the appointment was filed by a lawyer named Shmuel Zang.

Majadele also has a long track record of denouncing Israel for supposed "discrimination" against Arabs (see http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/818769.html).

And speaking of discrimination in Israel, the following is a wonderful example.

A story that has been making the news in the Israeli media concerns a Jewish farmer in the Negev who shot and killed an Arab Bedouin thief who had broken into his property. The sheep farmer, a religious Jew named Shay Dromi, shot the thief while the latter and three business associates were trying to steal some sheep. Dromi also wounded a second thief.

The leftist Israeli Prosecutor's Office ordered that the Jewish farmer be prosecuted for manslaughter and jailed for as many as 20 years. The prosecutor at first considered indicting the farmer for murder. Had the thief been a Jew or the farmer an Arab (or both), it would have been open and shut justifiable manslaughter and self-defense.

In a poll taken this week, 81% of the Israeli public (which is about 20% Arab) indicated they think Dromi was entirely justified in shooting the thief. But Israel's prosecutor cares not a fig for either natural rights nor for public opinion. 87% of those polled said the cops cannot be relied upon to stop thieves.

Israel's Left is also aghast. How dare a Jew fire at a group of four Arab criminals? After all, Arabs are oppressed, so it is their right to steal, correct? The Jews owe it to them.

For an excellent legal analysis of this (alas, only in Hebrew), see http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-3355718,00.html.

Roy Bean, where are you when we really need you east of the Pecos?