Israel appoints first Muslim minister


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Israel appoints first Muslim minister
Times Online
The first Muslim government minister in Israel’s 58-year history was appointed yesterday amid criticism from both sides of the sectarian divide.

Ghaleb Majadleh, 53, a veteran Labour Party figure, became a minister without portfolio in the coalition Government of Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister.

Mr Majadleh hailed his appointment as an historic step forward for relations between Jews and the Arab community in Israel, which accounts for 20 per cent of the population.

His appointment was first put forward a fortnight ago by Amir Peretz, the embattled Labour leader and Defence Minister, drawing criticism from his own party, the hard Right and even some Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset. Mr Peretz, who may lose the defence post this week in a Cabinet reshuffle, was accused of using Mr Majadleh to bolster his own position before a leadership contest in which the votes of Israeli-Arab party members will be vital.

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