Moslem sectarian in Israeli cabinet

It is for the first time since the day the State of Israel was established on the Promised land in 1948 that one of Israel’s cabinet posts is being afforded to a non-Jew. Salakh Tarif, who belongs to one of Islamic sects, is receiving the post of a minister without portfolio in the government being formed by Premier-elect Sharon. The sect Mr. Tarif belongs to is called Druz – they broke away from the mainstream Islam as early as in 11th century and are numbering 80,000 now. They are said to be more integrated into the Israeli society than Palestinians having Israeli citizenship. They even are called up to serve in the Israeli army. “It is so amazing and emotional for me,” says Mr. Tarif. “I will do my best to decently represent the Arab minority and conduct a policy which would ensure equality in rights for all citizens,” he added. Hopefully, such a bold step of Mr. Sharon’s will help ease tension between Israel and the Palestinian autonomy.

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