Raleb Majadele

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Raleb Majadele
Raleb Majadele. April 2008.jpg
Date of birth (1953-04-05) 5 April 1953 (age 67)
Place of birthBaqa al-Gharbiyye, Israel
Knessets16, 17, 18, 19
Faction represented in Knesset
2004–2009Labor Party
2010–2013Labor Party
2014–2015Labor Party
Ministerial roles
2007Minister without Portfolio
2007–2009Minister of Science, Culture & Sport

Raleb Majadele (Arabic: غالب مجادلة‎, Levantine Arabic: [ˈɣaːleb maˈʒaːdele]; Hebrew: ראלב מג'אדלה, [ˈʁaleb maˈd͡ʒadele]; also spelt Ghaleb Majadele, born 5 April 1953) is an Israeli Arab politician. He served as a member of the Knesset for the Labor Party in three spells between 2004 and 2015, and became the country's first Muslim minister when appointed Minister without Portfolio on 28 January 2007.


Born in Baqa al-Gharbiyye, as a teenager Majadele was a member of HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed youth movement,[1] becoming its secretary.

A businessman, he became secretary of the Regional Workers Council, and headed the Education and Sport department of the Histadrut trade union.

He joined the Labor Party, and was placed twentieth on the party's list for the 2003 Knesset elections. Although the party won only 19 seats, Majadele entered the Knesset on 28 June 2004 as a replacement for Avraham Burg,[2] who had resigned. He was re-elected in the 2006 elections.

On 10 January 2007, Labor leader Amir Peretz announced that Majadele would be appointed Minister of Science, Culture and Sport.[3] On 28 January 2007 the cabinet voted to appoint him Minister without Portfolio.[4] His appointment was confirmed by a vote in which all ministers except the chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, voted in favour.[4] In March 2007 Majadele received the Science, Culture and Sport portfolio.

Although welcomed by many, Majadele's appointment was controversial among several groups of politicians. Mohammed Barakeh of Hadash attacked it as a "dirty trick" that would not advance Arabs,[3] while Lieberman and Esterina Tartman of Yisrael Beiteinu claimed it was damaging to Zionism.[5] The latter criticism was itself extremely controversial, with lawmakers from across the political spectrum branding Lieberman's and Tartman's remarks racist; a number of Labor lawmakers demanded that Yisrael Beiteinu be expelled from the governing coalition as a condition of Labor continuing to participate in the government.[5]

For the 2009 elections he was placed fifteenth on the Labor list,[6] but lost his seat as Labor were reduced to 13 representatives. However, he re-entered the Knesset on 13 April 2010 as a replacement for Yuli Tamir, who had resigned her seat. For the 2013 elections he was placed seventeenth on the party's list,[7] and lost his seat again as the Labor Party won only 15 seats. However, he re-entered the Knesset on 14 December 2014 to serve as a replacement for Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who resigned for health reasons after Danny Atar (who had been sixteenth on the party list) gave up the opportunity to take his place.[8] He did not contest the 2015 elections, losing his seat.


  • "I fail to understand how an enlightened, sane Jew allows himself to ask a Muslim person with a different language and culture, to sing an anthem that was written for Jews only," in reference to Hatikvah, the Israeli national anthem.[9] Majadele went on to point out that, although he does not participate in singing Hatikvah, he does express respect for the song by standing up when it is sung.
  • "Israel is a Jewish state and it does not require external affirmation to prove its Jewishness. Any such request could only weaken the state."[10]
  • "The roots of the Israeli Arab citizens of Israel were planted before the state was established. They are residents of this country with rights; their residency and citizenship are not open for negotiation", in response to comments made by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni indicating that a future Palestinian state should provide a lasting solution for Israeli Arabs.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Overall, the street is happy Archived 2007-10-01 at the Wayback Machine Haaretz
  2. ^ Knesset Members in the Sixteenth Knesset Knesset website
  3. ^ a b Yoav Stern (10 January 2007). "Labor MK Raleb Majadele to be appointed first Arab minister". Haaretz.
  4. ^ a b "First Arab joins Israeli cabinet". BBC. 28 January 2007.
  5. ^ a b Mazal Mualem; Gideon Alon; Yoav Stern (12 January 2007). "Lieberman calls on Peretz to quit over appointment of first Arab minister". Haaretz.
  6. ^ Detailed list of approved candidates: Labor Knesset website (in Hebrew)
  7. ^ Labor Party Central Elections Committee
  8. ^ Raleb Majadla Replaces Ben Eliezer in Knesset Israel National News, 14 December 2014
  9. ^ Majadele refuses to sing national anthem Ynetnews, 17 March 2007
  10. ^ "Erekat: Why is PM 'poking us in the eye' over Jewish Israel"[permanent dead link] The Jerusalem Post, 16 November 2007
  11. ^ FM Livni: Palestinian state should satisfy Israeli Arab national desires Archived 2008-01-21 at the Wayback Machine israelinsider, 18 November 2007

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