Israel set to appoint first-ever Moslem Arab minister

dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday January 10, 2007

Jerusalem- An Arab-Israeli legislator of the centre-left
Labour Party is to become Israel's first-ever Moslem minister,
Israeli news channels reported Wednesday night.
Labour Party head Amir Peretz has decided to appoint Raleb
Majadele from the central Arab-Israeli town of Baka el-Garbia as
science, culture and sports minister, Channel 10 and Channel 1
reported, describing the appointment as "historic."

Peretz nominated Majadele after the previous science, culture and
sports minister, Ophir Pines, also a Labour legislator, resigned in
protest over the addition of an ultra-right party to Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert's Kadima-led coalition.

Former Israeli premier Ariel Sharon appointed the first-ever
Arab-Israeli minister, Salah Tarif, in 2001, but he resigned in 2002
on charges of corruption. Tarif, however, is a Druze, not a Moslem.

Arab Israelis make up some 20 per cent of Israel's population of
seven million.

They are represented by 11 Arab legislators in the 120-seat
Knesset (parliament), with most of them voting either for small Arab
factions, the left-liberal Meretz party, or Labour - Kadima's
second-largest coalition partner with 19 seats.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency