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Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Israeli Parliament Approves Appointment of New Ministers

The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, approved Monday night three new cabinet ministers nominated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel TV reported.


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The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, approved Monday night three new cabinet ministers nominated by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel TV reported.

Natan Sharansky, who led his Yisrael Ba'Aliya party to join the Sharon-led Likud after January's general elections, will serve as minister without portfolio responsible for Jerusalem and diaspora affairs.

Effi Eitam, chairman of the National Religious Party (NRP), will serve as housing and construction minister. His party colleague Zevulon Orlev will take the post of welfare minister.

The three new ministers have been sworn in during the Knesset plenary meeting.

After the swearing-in ceremony of the three ministers, the 30th Israeli government has come into being with a coalition composed of 23 ministers from four political parties.

The coalition government, consisting of the Likud, the secular Shinui Party, the far-right National Union and the NRP, controls a majority of 68 seat in the 120-seat Knesset.

Sharon's Likud, as the biggest party, controls 15 ministerial portfolios covering defense, foreign affairs, finance, trade, education, agriculture, public security and so on.

Sharon, however, is expected to continue enlarging his Likud power in the coalition. Veteran Likud members David Levy and Dan Meridor would also be appointed as ministers without portfolios, Israel Radio reported.


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