First female Arab Israeli lawmaker to head Knesset committee

Suleiman, who was appointed to the committee her position through a unanimous decision, has been attending hearings of the committee since 1992. (Photo courtesy: Activestills.org)

Israel’s Knesset elected on Thursday an Arab Israeli lawmaker to chair a committee, for the first time in its history, Israeli paper Haaretz reported on Thursday.

Aida Touma-Suleiman, 50, was elected by a unanimous vote to head the Committee on the Status of Women.

The Joint Arab List, the second largest opposition party in Israel, had hoped for a heavier chairmanship, namely of the State Control Committee.

But Knesset officials reportedly told the Arab faction that it would not be possible as the party’s targeted body dealt with “sensitive security issues.”

Together with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the State Control Committee deals with classified files including auditing Israel’s military establishment.

Suleiman, who was appointed to the committee her position through a unanimous decision, has been attending hearings of the committee since 1992.

Speaking following the committee’s decision on Wednesday, Suleiman said she hoped for cooperation with the Minister for Senior Citizens Gila Gamliel who is also responsible for gender equality, the Haaretz reported.

Before being elected to the Knesset, she headed the Arab Feminist organization Women Against Violence. She also co-found the International Women’s Commission for a Just Palestinian-Israeli Peace, and was appointed the first woman on the Supreme Monitoring Committee for Arab Affairs in Israel.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44
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