Minorities Minister of Israel

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The Minister of Minorities is a member of the Israeli cabinet. The post was resurrected in 1999, as a ministerial responsibility under a Minister without portfolio, after having previously existed as an independent office in the provisional government between 1948 and 1949 (as the Minister of Minority Affairs). The post is currently held by Shalom Simhon.


The Ministry of Minority Affairs was founded after independence, and was the only new ministry not based on Yishuv institutions.[1] The ministerial post was held by Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit, an Arabic speaker who was popular with the country's Arab population. Sheetrit attempted to promote integration and equality, but was hamstrung by the Military Government, which controlled most Arab areas after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, as well as Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, who vetoed Sheetrit's proposal for an Arab advisory council in the ministry. [2]

Following disagreements with the Ministry of Religions and the Military government (which controlled most Arab areas after the war had ended), the Ministry of Minority Affairs was closed in 1949.[2] Following its closure, Arab-related matters were handled by an advisor on Arab affairs in the Prime Minister's Office.

On 18 June 1996 Moshe Katsav, then deputy Prime Minister, was also appointed as "Minister for Israeli Arab Affairs". During the 27th government, Matan Vilnai served as Chairman of the Ministerial Committee for Arab-Israeli affairs. In the 29th government, Salah Tarif, a Druze, served as a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office with the responsibility on Minorities Affairs. In the current government Avishay Braverman, a Minister without Portfolio, was also responsible for Minorities Affairs until 17 January 2011 when he resigned. A day later Matan Vilnai was announced as the new minister, but was replaced on 19 January by Shalom Simhon after complaints that minorities did not want to be under the Defense Ministry.[3]

List of Ministers[edit]


      Sephardim and Oriental Communities       Likud       Labor       Independence

No. Name Portrait Party Term of office Govt. (P.M.)

Minister for Minority Affairs (1948–1949)[edit]

1 Bechor-Shalom Sheetrit Bechor-Shalom Shitreet.jpg Sephardim
and Oriental
12 April 1948 8 March 1949 Prov (Ben-Gurion)

Minister for Israeli Arab Affairs (1996–1999)[edit]

2 Moshe Katsav Moshe Katsav 2, by Amir Gilad.JPG Likud 18 June 1996 6 July 1999 27 (Netanyahu)

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office
with responsibility for Minorities Affairs (2001–2002)

3 Salah Tarif No image.svg Labor 7 March 2001 29 January 2002 29 (Sharon)

Minister for Minorities (2009– )[edit]

4 Avishay Braverman Avishay.braverman.png Labor 31 March 2009 17 January 2011 32 (Netanyahu)
5 Shalom Simhon Shalom simchom1.JPG Independence 19 January 2011 Incumbent


  1. ^ Peled, Alisa Rubin (2002) The Other Side of 1948: The Forgotten Benevolence of Bechor Shalom Shitrit and the Ministry of Minority Affairs Israel Affairs, Vol.8, No.3, pp 84-103
  2. ^ a b Dowty, Alan (1988) The Jewish State : A Century Later University of California Press
  3. ^ PM announces creation of Homeland Security Ministry The Jerusalem Post, 19 January 2011