Hanin Zouabi is the first female Member of Knesset for an Arab party. Despite this milestone, interviews she has given indicate that Arab women’s issues will not be her main focus. A protégé of the former leader of her Balad Party, Azmi Bishara, it appears that she shares his agenda – to campaign for the dissolution of Israel as a Jewish state.
(Bishara is currently living in Jordan to escape his arrest by Israeli security services on charges of espionage and aiding enemies of the state, specifically Hizballah.)
Some 20 percent of the population of Israel is Arab, almost 1.5 million people. The vast majority of them are law-abiding and, though they frequently voice opposition to Israeli policies in the territories, the number of Israeli Arabs that have been involved in supporting or perpetrating acts of terrorism is tiny. Nevertheless, when prominent figures in the Arab community, like MKs, use their public platform as a pulpit from which to support antisemitic terror organisations and to call for Israel’s demise, it creates understandable fear of an Arab “fifth column” and strengthens extremists on the Jewish side.