Iman Khatib-Yassin appeared to be poised on Tuesday to secure a spot in the Knesset and become the first hijab-wearing Knesset lawmaker in Israel’s history, as preliminary election results showed her Joint List party surging to 15 seats.
Khatib-Yassin holds the 15th slot on the Joint List, an alliance of four Arab-led factions. She is a member of Ra’am, which is affiliated with the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and has never had a female representative in the Knesset.
The Arraba native is 55, married and a mother to three sons and a daughter.
Before running for Knesset, she worked as the head of a community center in Yafa an-Naseriyye, located in the Lower Galilee, where she now lives, for 14 years.
In a video published on the Joint List Facebook page in February, Khatib-Yassin said she “especially wants to raise the voice of women” as well as that of vulnerable and marginalized persons and “our youth.”
She earned a bachelor’s degree at Haifa University in social work and a master’s degree at Tel Aviv University in women’s affairs.
Khatib-Yassin is slated to become one of four female lawmakers from the Joint List, if current projections hold up.
She also ran for Knesset on Ra’am-Balad’s slate in April 2019 and the Joint List in the September 2019, but did not win a seat in the 120-member parliament.
Israel has held an unprecedented three national elections in the past year.
In the video, she said she was impacted significantly by the events of March 30, 1976, in which security forces shot dead six Arab Israelis during mass demonstrations against plans to confiscate land in the Galilee.
Arab Israelis refer to those events as Land Day and commemorate them annually in different parts of Israel.
“All of the events of Land Day happened in front of me and one of the martyrs who was killed during Land Day was my cousin,” she said. “The events of Land Day are my first political memory, which is still strong today.”