The cabinet approved on Sunday the appointment of Labor member Ghaleb Majadle as Israel's first Arab cabinet minister.
Majadle is appointed as a minister-without-portfolio, rather than becoming minister of arts, culture and sports as planned.
The original cabinet vote on Majadle's appointment was postponed due to political disputes between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz.
“The addition of an Arab [to the cabinet] is a significant act whose time has come,” Olmert told his party ministers. “But the move must be made while looking at the big picture of vacancies in the cabinet and the demands of Labor and Israel Beiteinu.”
Sources close to Olmert said he warned Peretz that if Majadle became the Science, Culture and Sports minister, Labor would have to abandon its claim on the vacant Social Affairs portfolio.