(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Several lawmakers have tried to propose bills to ban MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) from
the Knesset, but the controversy-prone legislator may leave of her own volition
to run for mayor of Nazareth.
Zoabi said Tuesday that she has yet to make
a final decision, but is very seriously considering joining the mayoral race in
the town where she was born and raised. She will have to make a final decision
by Thursday, the deadline to submit candidacy.
If Zoabi runs, she will do
so as an independent candidate and not as part of Balad, and will be following
in the footsteps of her relative, Saif al-Din Zoabi, a former MK and mayor of
Nazareth in the 1980s.
Municipal elections are scheduled for October 22,
leaving Zoabi little time to campaign, but she has name recognition as an
The Balad MK is best known for her participation in the 2010
Gaza flotilla, during which she was aboard the Mavi Marmara, and subsequent
suspension from Knesset debates. The Knesset Ethics Committee also punished her
for pushing a Knesset usher and for traveling to South Africa to testify to the
Russell Tribunal on Palestine without receiving advance permission.
Nazareth mayoral race recently heated up when the town’s Deputy Mayor Ali Sallam
said he is leaving the Hadash party and running for mayor, and the current
mayor, Ramiz Jaraisy, has yet to announce if he is running for reelection after
serving in the position for 19 years.
Should Zoabi choose to run for
mayor of Nazareth, she will be the second current MK to take part in municipal
elections. The other is MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), who hopes to be mayor of
Neither Zoabi nor Horowitz will have to resign from the Knesset
to campaign, but they would have to leave the legislature if they are elected