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Ra’am MK selected to head Knesset Internal Affairs Committee

Four committee members vote against Walid Taha replacing his party colleague Said al-Harumi, who died last month

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am MK Walid Taha has been selected as the new chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee, replacing his late colleague Said al-Harumi, who died last month.

Taha, who is the head of the Ra’am party’s Knesset faction, entered the Knesset in 2019.

The committee approved his nomination 6-4, with several members protesting the selection and claiming that Taha is a terror supporter.

Religious Zionism MK Orit Strock said it was “an embarrassment” that “terror supporters are sitting in the government” and called on the coalition “to repent” its sins.

Likud MK Shlomo Karhi, who also voted against the nomination, said it was “symbolic” that it was made on Thursday, the Fast of Gedalia — which commemorates the end of Jewish autonomy following the destruction of the First Temple — since the committee “is once again abandoning the lands of the south and the Galilee.”

Karhi said that the leadership of the committee, which oversees planning and construction, should not be placed in the hands of a “member of the Islamic Movement.”

Lawmaker Said al-Harumi pauses during an interview at his office at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on Monday, June 28, 2021.(AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

In response, Taha said that the “liars and the hypocrites have a problem with an Arab party having responsibility for the distribution of resources, including to the Arab community.”

He added that such people “want to go to sleep and wake up without a single Arab in this country, but they will continue to suffer. We are also citizens of this state.”

Taha said he was not happy to receive the job “due to the death of a dear friend.” But he said he will run the committee fairly and “all issues will be dealt with professionally and without bias.”

Al-Harumi died in late August after suffering a sudden heart attack while driving.

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