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Science, Culture and Sport Minister Ghaleb Majadele, an Israeli Arab, warned on Monday that Israel is losing control over its Arab minority's youth.

The Labor minister said that if the current situation continues whereby 54 percent of Israeli Arab children grow up in homes below the poverty line, "it will be very bad."

"We will not be able to control the consequences. These [will be] undesirable consequences for a democratic regime," he added, speaking at a conference held by Tel Aviv University's Konrad Adenauer Program for Jewish-Arab Cooperation.

While Majadele did not detail what these consequences would be, he stated at the conference, titled "Arab youth in Israel - between possibility and danger," that he preferred for the struggle against the circumstances which would bring them about to be "legitimate, democratic and through maintenance of the law."

Majadele is the first Arab government minister in Israeli history.

With reference to upcoming Independence Day celebrations for Israel's 60th anniversary, on which date Palestinians mark Nakba day, Majadele said that, "It is not wise to tell the Arab public that there is no Nakba day."

Late last week the Nazareth District Court had to intervene to allow the Islamic Movement to hold a memorial for the Nakba (the Palestinian term - "catastrophe" - for the establishment of the state of Israel) in Kafr Kana.

According to the minister, only when there is equality for Israel's Arab citizens will the state be able to enter into a dialog on the subject with the minority.

Nevertheless, Majadele maintained that the Israeli Arab public needs to respect the 60th anniversary celebrations. "We can say - I lost a home, but I built a better future," he said. "There is no contradiction between these statements."