Who are the 22nd Knesset’s new members?

The MKS are Waleed Taha,Jaber Asaqla,Sami Abou Shahadeh, Matan Kahana, Yair Golan, Moshe Abutbul, Alex Kushnir and Mark Ifraimov.

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September 26, 2019 05:58
3 minute read.
Who are the 22nd Knesset’s new members?

The Knesset . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Joint List

Walid Taha

Taha, who hails from Kafr Kassem, is in the Islamic Movement Southern Branch’s United Arab List, one of the parties making up the Joint List. Taha has a Master’s Degree in Security Studies from Tel Aviv University. Prior to being elected to the Knesset, Taha was a teacher, managed preschools and headed the Education and Culture Department in the Kafr Kassem municipality.

Jabir Asaqla

Jabir Asaqla is from the Hadash party in the Joint List and lives in Maghar in the Galilee. He is Druze, but refused to serve in the IDF for ideological reasons. He is the former deputy director-general of Shatil, the New Israel Fund’s executive arm in Israel, and joint director-general of Sikkuy, an NGO seeking to promote equality between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

Sami Abu Shehadeh

Abu Shehadeh, from the Balad Party in the Joint List, lives in Jaffa and was a Tel Aviv city councilman for several years. He is also a member of Mada al-Carmel, an organization that researches policy towards Israeli Arabs. Abu Shehadeh recently came under fire after Makor Rishon reported that he spoke at a pro-BDS conference earlier this year, at which he called Israel “a racist entity” and said that Zionism is “an ugly and racist project.” The conference was sponsored by Middle East Monitor, which the Strategic Affairs Ministry considers a hate group.





 
New Right

Matan Kahana

Kahana got his foot in the political door through his good friend and New Right leader Naftali Bennett. The two served in the IDF together in the Sayeret Matkal commando unity. Kahana later became a commander of an F-16 squadron and entered civilian life a year ago, after 28 years in the military, with the ranking of colonel. Kahana also has an MA in Law from Bar-Ilan University.

Democratic Union

Yair Golan

Golan is of the branch of Democratic Union led by former prime minister Ehud Barak, but got his party’s top Knesset spot. A former deputy IDF chief of staff, Golan famously continued commanding his troops after being wounded in a firefight with Hezbollah terrorists in the southern Lebanon security zone, while serving as Commander of the Eastern brigade of the Lebanon Liaison Unit in 1997. In more recent years, while he was deputy chief of staff, Golan courted controversy with a Remembrance Day speech in which he said he “identified processes” in Israeli society that were similar to pre-World War II Germany. The remarks, for which he was lambasted by much of the Right, likely lost him the chief of staff position. He angered Labor-Gesher supporters ahead of this election by calling the party an “ethnic party,” a reference to its leader Amir Peretz being born in Morocco and number two Orly Levy-Abecassis being the daughter of Moroccan immigrants.

Shas

Moshe Abutbul

A former Bet Shemesh mayor, Abutbul was voted out of office last year. He grew up in a traditional home and became haredi (ultra-Orthodox) later in life. Abutbul served in the IDF in its rabbinate and in a tracker unit, and later became a DJ on a pirate haredi radio station and an actor in several films made for haredi audiences. He was mayor of Bet Shemesh from 2008 to 2018, and was accused of neglecting the city’s non-haredi residents.

Yisrael Beytenu

Alex Kushnir

Kushnir was born in the former Soviet Union, in modern day Ukraine, and made aliyah in 1992, settling in Ashkelon, where he currently lives. Kushnir was the director-general of the Immigration and Absorption Ministry under minister Sofa Landver, also of Yisrael Beytenu. He also served in a number of field roles for the Shin Bet security agency.

Mark Ifraimov

Ifraimov is the former deputy mayor of Sderot. He made aliyah from the FSU, in the Caucasus region, taking part in the Na’aleh program for teens who move to Israel without their families. Before being elected as deputy mayor of Sderot in 2013, he was a coordinator for an NGO helping at-risk youth and the head of an organization for young “Mountain Jews,” a term for Jews from the Caucasus. In addition, he headed the crime prevention unity in the Public Security Ministry.


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