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Israelis shocked as Arab party leader Ayman Odeh decides to leave office

Arab Israelis hope that Hadash-Ta’al leader Ayman Odeh's surprising exit from politics will shake up the Arab political system and encourage young people to revive unification efforts.

Leader of the Arab Israeli party Hadash-Ta’al Ayman Odeh surprised many in Israel on Tuesday by announcing he was stepping down from politics and will not run in the next Knesset elections, in a move that could lead to the reconciliation of the three existing Arab parties.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Wednesday that for the first time since the split of the Joint List alliance in 2021, Odeh shook hands with Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas and invited him for a reconciliation meeting. 

Odeh announced his resignation in messages posted on social media Tuesday in both Hebrew and in Arabic.

"Part of the job of a person serving the public is to know when to step back to see the bigger picture. That is why I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life today: When this term is over, I will not run in the next Knesset elections. I will continue leading our [Hadash-Ta’al] list until the end of the current term,’’ Odeh tweeted in Hebrew.

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