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Arab Knesset Member Asks Mrs. Meir to Cancel His Appointment to Sub-cabinet Post

The attempt to appoint an Arab to a sub-Cabinet post for the first time has been temporarily stalled on the initiative of the prospective appointee. Seif A-Din Zouabi, a Nazareth Moslem who is a Deputy Speaker of the Knesset representing the four-seat Minorities Party, has asked Premier Golda Meir to cancel the move. Although he has felt himself deserving of the appointment in view of his long Knesset service, Zouabi acted to end the matter after all but one Cabinet Minister rejected him as an aide. Shimon Peres, Minister of Transport and Communications and of Posts, accepted Mrs. Meir’s suggestion that Zouabi become Deputy Minister of Communications; but the Moslem MK said he would prefer to serve as deputy in a newly created Ministry of Israeli-Arab Affairs, a proposal Mrs. Meir is studying. The situation is complicated by the fact that Seif A-Din Zouabi’s cousin Mapam MK Abdel Aziz Zouabi of Nazareth, also claims a Deputy Ministership and is supported for it by his party. And the two Zouabis dislike each other intensely. Furthermore, when Mapan and the Labor Party reached agreement on a compromise whereby both cousins would be appointed to similar posts, leaders of the Druze community complained, asserting that they were more loyal to Israel than Arabs and that therefore they should not be deprived of a Deputy Ministership while Moslems got two.

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