Skip to main content

Why Israelis Love To Hate Haneen Zoabi

Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi takes advantage of Israeli democracy and undermines Israel’s relations with its Arab citizens, writes Shlomi Eldar.
Haneen Zoabi, an Arab member of the Israeli Knesset (the Israeli parliament), talks to reporters in Amman August 31, 2010. Zoabi is in Amman to contribute to a UN fact-finding mission with Jordanian activists about Israel's May 31 capture of a Gaza-bound boat in which nine people died. The hearings, chaired by a 3-person panel commenced on August 30 in Amman with Arab activists from Israel, including Zoabi, who was aboard the Turkish vessel when the raid occurred. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN - Tags: POLI
Read in 

Many Israelis were overjoyed at last week’s [Dec. 19] decision of the Central Elections Committee that disqualified Member Knesset Haneen Zoabi’s candidacy for the upcoming Knesset. Others squirmed uncomfortably in their seats but apparently they, too, were not really sorry. What is it about that Balad Israeli-Arab political party Knesset Member that arouses such great antagonism among the Israeli public, and not only from the Right? Why do so many people in Israel love to hate her? 

“The problem is not that I am a terrorist,” said Zoabi after her disqualification. “Maybe the problem is that I am too democratic. The problem with the Balad movement and the Arab Knesset members is that we are democratic in an atmosphere that does not believe in democracy.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.