Arab MK set to join Knesset’s most sensitive and powerful security committee
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Zionist Union could yet block move

Arab MK set to join Knesset’s most sensitive and powerful security committee

Meretz's Issawi Frej would be the first Arab lawmaker to sit on the Foreign Affairs and Defense panel since 2006

Meretz MK Issawi Frej attends a Economic committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Meretz MK Issawi Frej attends a Economic committee meeting at the Knesset on July 12, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

An Arab lawmaker is set to be appointed to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the coming days, in what would be a rare instance of an Arab MK serving on the powerful Knesset body.

Meretz MK Issawi Frej, who would be the first Arab parliamentarian to sit on the committee since 2006, is next in line to replace Meretz leader Zehava Galon as a lawmaker. Galon resigned from the Knesset last month.

Frej would be the first Arab MK to serve on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee since 2006, when former lawmaker Taleb el-Sana briefly served on the body, according to the Haaretz daily.

MK Taleb el-Sana (photo credit: Matanya Tausig/Flash90)
Former Knesset member Taleb el-Sana (Matanya Tausig/Flash90)

The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is the parliamentary committee with the most influence on all matters relating to the military, security services and Israel’s defense policies.

Arab parties however have traditionally avoid asking for seats on the committee, which weighs, among other issues, plans for IDF attacks against Palestinian targets during times of war.

While Frej is the leading candidate for the open spot on the committee, his appointment could be tripped up by the consent of the Zionist Union, whose former head Isaac Herzog gave one of the party’s seats to Galon as a personal gesture, according to Haaretz.

After placing third in the 2015 elections, the Joint (Arab) List decided to forgo the two seats it was entitled to on the committee and instead seek additional seats on the Finance Committee.

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