Israel’s Minister for Arab Affairs Resigns
Israel’s Minister without Portfolio, Salah Tarif announced Sunday his resignation. Tarif, a Labor minister responsible for Arab Affairs, made his announcement at the weekly cabinet meeting.
Israel’s Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein was going to ask the Parliament to lift Tarif's immunity so that he could stand trial, after he decided last week to indict the minister, of Druze descent, for bribery and breach of trust.
Tarif is suspected of having served as the middleman in a bribery attempt by a Palestinian friend, Hosni Badran. Badran allegedly transferred an envelope containing a few thousand dollars to then head of the Population Registry Rafi Cohen via Tarif, in order to convince Cohen to approve his application for permanent resident status in Israel. Additionally, Tarif allegedly arranged and attended a December 1999 meeting between Badran and Cohen. Badran was arrested in June 2001.
Tarif and Badran deny the allegations against them. Cohen also initially denied the allegations, but confessed after he failed a polygraph test.
During the cabinet meeting, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon praised Tarif for being the first non-Jewish cabinet member. He said Tarif has made a great contribution to the government through his contacts with the Israeli Arab community and neighboring countries, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Furthermore, Sharon expressed the hope that Tarif would prove his innocence quickly and continue to contribute to the country, according to Israel Radio. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)