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Arab-Israeli woman announces presidential run

Elham Khazen has become the first Arab woman to run for the Israeli presidency.
Arab Israeli MP and Arab Joint List candidate Said al-Harumi votes in the Bedouin town of Segev Shalom or Shaqib al-Salam near the southern Israeli city of Beersheva on March 2, 2020. - Israelis were voting for a third time in 12 months today, with embattled Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeking to end the country's political crisis and save his career. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)

Azmi Bishara, then chairman of the Balad Party, was the first and until now only Arab citizen to run for prime minister of Israel. Things were different in 1999. There were direct elections for the office of prime minister, regardless of the candidate’s party affiliation. Then, two days before the election, Bishara withdrew his candidacy, citing a variety of reasons.

Three decades later, Arab businesswoman Elham Khazen from the northern town of Bi’ina announced her plans to run for president. Khazen, who owns a chain of pharmacies and a clinic in the town of Sakhnin, is the first Arab woman to run for the largely ceremonial position.

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