Israeli-Arab Knesset Member Resigns

Monday, April 23, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
The Arab Balad Party is to replace its party leader with Said Nafaa on Tuesday. Nafaa is Druse who has been active in strengthening Arab national identity.

The replacement came following Balad Party Chairman Azmi Bishara’s resignation, which he announced from the Israeli Embassy in Egypt on Sunday.

“I won't stop my political activities and will always remain in contact,” Bishara told Al-Jazeera TV following his resignation.

“Since the last elections, I have had an urge to resign and devote more time to contemplative and literary writing... I always believed I was in the Knesset out of duty, and not as a profession.”

Bishara, an Israeli-Arab nationalist, left the country earlier this month after media reports based on police investigations were found to possibly lead to charges of treason.

The party said the investigation was aimed at politically destroying Bishara through false accusations to keep him quiet.

While Bishara plans to return to Israel it won’t be any time soon for fear of a lengthy jail sentence and a complete destruction to his public image.

Key accusations against Bishara include “providing an enemy with information at a time of war, visiting an enemy country and bringing money illegally into the State of Israel.”

Bishara served as a Member of Knesset for 11 years, founded the Balad Party in 1995, and was the first Arab minister to run for prime minister in the 1999 elections.

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