These Five Israeli Ministers Are Jewish Women of Arab Origin

Published June 23rd, 2021 - 07:52 GMT
The new Israeli cabinet
The new Israeli government has featured 9 women out of 27 ministers. (Twitter: @KarinaYaniv)

While the new Israeli government has been in office for a little over a week, details of cabinet members, political coalitions and alliances continue to unfold and spark global interest. 

There is no doubt that 2021 has been an intense year in for Israeli politics, whether in terms of the country's 4th elections in 2 years, that took place last March, the new government that has ousted the longest-serving Prime Minister, or the growing global discontent with Israeli policies towards Palestinians, especially in the wake of May tensions in East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Still, details of the new Israeli government that was formed by current Prime Minister and right-wing figure Naftali Bennett in addition to the former journalist and centrist politician Yair Lapid are also triggering online conversations.

Out of 27 ministers serving in this government, 9 are women. And out of the 9 female ministers, 5 are of Arab origins. 

1. Ayelet Shaked

Known for her support of the new Israeli Prime Minister, a member of the Jewish Home party, the new Israeli Minister of Interior's paternal grandmother had immigrated from Iraq to Palestine during the 1950s.

2. Meirav Cohen

The new Minister for Social Equality in Israel was born to two immigrants from Morroco and is a member of the centrist Blue and White political party. She is the youngest in the Israeli cabinet being only 37 years old.

3. Yifat Shasha-Biton

A member of the national-liberal New Hope political party, Shasha-Biton is the new Minister of Education in Israel. Her mother is a nurse from Morocco while her father had immigrated from Iraq.

4. Orna Barbivai

The new Israeli Minister of Economy representing the Blue and White party. She was the first woman to be made Major-general. She was born to a Jewish father who had immigrated from Iraq while her mom comes from Romania. 

5. Karen Al-Harrar

The new Minister of National Infrastructures, Energy, and Water Resources was born to Moroccan Jewish parents, and she is the first Israeli minister with a disability due to her suffering from muscular dystrophy.


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