4 new lawmakers sworn in after Meretz, Zionist Union MKs quit

Entering Knesset for second time, MK Mossi Raz vows to represent Palestinian interests; Said al-Harumi becomes lawmaker as part of Arab party rotation deal

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (R) shakes hands with incoming Meretz MK Mossi Raz in the Knesset on October 23, 2017 (Yitzhak Harari/Knesset spokesperson's office)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (R) shakes hands with incoming Meretz MK Mossi Raz in the Knesset on October 23, 2017 (Yitzhak Harari/Knesset spokesperson's office)

Four new lawmakers were sworn into the Knesset on Monday to replace Knesset members from the Zionist Union, Meretz, and Joint (Arab) List who quit over the summer break.

Returning to parliament and the left-wing Meretz party for a second stint in politics was MK Mossi Raz, who was a sitting lawmaker for the party from 2000 to 2003.

In his swearing-in speech, Raz — a former Peace Now secretary-general and IDF major — vowed to represent Palestinian interests.

“I plan on representing the Meretz voters and doing well by all Israeli citizens. I also unabashedly plan to do everything in my power to be a voice for those who cannot send representatives here although the decisions we make affect them, and I am referring to the Palestinians in the occupied territories,” said Raz.

Raz was replacing party leader Zehava Galon, who resigned as a lawmaker earlier this month. It was not clear if Galon’s resignation was the first step in the longtime lawmaker’s eventual resignation from political life, or part of an effort to stave off an internal leadership challenge amid widespread opposition in the party to her planned primaries reforms.

Zionist Union MK Lea Fadida is sworn into parliament on October 23, 2017 (Yitzhak Harari/Knesset spokesperson’s office)

Zionist Union MKs Salah Sa’ad and Lea Fadida were also sworn in as parliamentarians on Monday, replacing Labor lawmakers Manuel Trajtenberg and Erel Margalit, who stepped down earlier this month.

“In my candidacy I will focus my public mission on security, justice, and social equality — in employment, in [bridging the gaps] between the periphery and center, and between Jews and minorities,” said Sa’ad, an activist from the Druze community.

Fadida, the former deputy mayor of Yokneam, told lawmakers the first bill she would seek to advance was free education “from age zero.”

“A child isn’t born at 3-years-old,” she said. “Education is the wisest and most just public investment.”

Joint List Said al-Harumi also entered the Knesset as part of a rotation agreement within the party, an amalgam of the Balad, Ra’am, Ta’al, and Hadash parties.

Like Sa’ad, Harumi pledged to reduce inequality, particularly in the Negev region “for Arabs and Jews alike.”

On Sunday, the Joint (Arab) List announced that one of its lawmakers will resign from the Knesset on Monday just a month after being sworn in, in what it described as the shortest ever term for a parliamentarian. Ibrahim Hijazi became an MK on September 20, after the Knesset had begun its recess and never entered the plenum.

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