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Israel appoints Arab Muslim culture minister

Ghaleb Majadle has been a member of Israel’s Knesset since 2004.

Jerusalem. A Muslim Arab has been appointed a government minister in Israel for the first time. Labor MP Ghaleb Majadle is Israel’s new Minister of Culture, just weeks after first being named minister without portfolio.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the appointment “historic”.

“It’s not the only thing which has to be done [for] better understanding and tolerance between us and the Arabs living in Israel,” he said. “But this is a step forward.”

Israel has always had Arab MPs and today they hold approximately 10% of seats in parliament. No Muslim or Arab, however, has previously held a cabinet portfolio.