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A first: Israel hands cabinet post to Arab politician

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A first: Israel hands cabinet post to Arab politician

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Israel has appointed its first Arab cabinet minister in a move he said would help its Arab citizens identify more strongly with the state of Isreal.

Raleb Majadele was nominated by the Labour Party for a ministerial post after one of its members resigned at the inclusion of the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s coalition government in October.

Arabs make up some 20 percent of Israel’s population and have long complained of being treated like second-class citizens.

However Arab parties have slammed Majadele’s acceptance, arguing it undermines the interests of Arabs resident in Israel.