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Abolish Israel’s Most Impotent, Patronizing and Useless Ministry

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Among the many arguments still ongoing between and within the eight parties which may, or may not, form a new Israeli government Sunday evening is one that not even the most avid followers of Israeli politics will have noticed.

One of the reasons for the dispute’s obscurity is that it’s happening inside the Labor party, hardly one of the major parties in the coalition. Another reason is that it’s not jeopardizing the government’s formation or stability.

The third and perhaps main reason is that the argument is over the Israeli government’s most inconsequential and superfluous ministry: Diaspora Affairs.

The three main protagonists in this squabble are freshman lawmaker Gilad Kariv, who wants to become Diaspora affairs minister; Labor leader Merav Michaeli, who doesn’t want to appoint him to the position; and Nachman Shai, the former Labor lawmaker whom she prefers for the job.

Kariv and his supporters claim that there’s no-one better than him, a Reform rabbi, to fix Israel's rocky relationship with the progressive elements of American Jewry. Michaeli’s position is that she doesn’t want to appoint first-time lawmakers as ministers and that Shai (next in line on the Labor slate to get in to the Knesset) has extensive experience in Diaspora affairs as ex-head of the Israel office of what is now the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

I admit........

© Haaretz

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