HANEEN ZOABI is that rarest of beings, an Arab-Israeli woman who is a member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament.
Two other Arab-Israeli women have preceded her there. Hussniya Jabara served from 1999 to 2003 with the social democratic Meretz party, while Nadia Hilou, an Arab-Israeli Christian woman member of the Labor party, was in the Knesset from 2006 to 2009.
But Haneen Zoabi became the first Arab-Israeli woman to be elected to the Knesset on an Arab party’s list. That happened in 2009 when she stood for the Balad party, which opposes the idea of Israel as a Jewish state and favours it being a democracy with equal rights for all, regardless of national or ethnic backgrounds.
Balad believes Israel should recognise Palestinian Arabs as a national minority with appropriate autonomy and it desires the creation of two states based on pre-1967 borders. It also supports implementation of UN resolution 194 on the right of Palestinian refugees to return to lands from which they were removed in 1948.
Read the complete story in Irish Times, published 7 August 2012.