January 29, 2007

Israeli cabinet approves appointment of first Muslim minister

From CBCNews:

The Israeli government overwhelmingly approved the appointment of the country's first Muslim cabinet minister Sunday, Raleb Majadele. Israel's parliament has always had Arab lawmakers — today, they number 13 members out of 120. But the country has had only one Arab cabinet minister before: Salah Tarif, a Druse, who was appointed in 2001 and forced to resign nine months later under a cloud of corruption allegations. This appointment was more contentious
because Muslim and Christian Arabs, unlike the Druse, do not serve in the army and have a far weaker identification with Israel. Arabs have been slowly taking on a more visible role in Israeli society in recent years. There is an Arab Supreme Court justice, as well as several diplomats and senior civil servants. There is also a smattering of Arab TV journalists and actors, along with a former national beauty queen and the winner of the Israeli version of America's Next Top Model.