Abbas ally expected to back coalition

Ra’am’s late al-Harumi set to be replaced by former MK Iman Khatib-Yasin

Khatib-Yasin was Israel’s first hijab-wearing lawmaker following the March 2020 election, but failed to enter the Knesset in the latest round earlier this year

Then-MK Iman Khatib-Yasin speaks during a plenary session at the Knesset, on August 24, 2020. (Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL)
Then-MK Iman Khatib-Yasin speaks during a plenary session at the Knesset, on August 24, 2020. (Oren Ben Hakoon/POOL)

With the untimely death of Ra’am MK Said al-Harumi on Wednesday morning, the Knesset is expected to see the return of Iman Khatib-Yasin.

Khatib-Yasin is a close political ally of Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas, and is seen likely to back the coalition. Al-Harumi abstained in the crucial confidence vote in June that brought the eight-party alliance to power, in protest against demolitions of Bedouin homes, but Abbas said his protest abstention had been coordinated, and he would have voted in favor had the new government required his support. It took office with the narrowest possible margin, 60-59 with al-Harumi abstaining, and every vote is crucial as it races to pass a state budget by early November, as required by law.

Iman Khatib-Yasin was catapulted from near-anonymity to headline fame when she became Israel’s first hijab-wearing MK after the March 2020 election.

A self-described feminist, Khatib-Yasin became the first woman from the Southern Islamic Movement to be elected to the Knesset.

At the time of her entry into the Knesset she said she hoped to address violence in Arab society and violence against women specifically, as well as issues of employment for Arab women and bettering education for children in the Arab community.

Khatib-Yasin was a victim of recent political reshuffling. Ahead of the recent election in March 2021, her Ra’am party split from the Joint List and she was placed fifth on its slate.

However, Ra’am scraped past the Knesset threshold to win just four seats, leaving Khatib-Yasin outside.

Related: How Israel’s first hijab-wearing MK plans to fight for Arab women

She also ran for Knesset on Ra’am-Balad’s slate in April 2019 and the Joint List in the September 2019 election, but did not win a seat in the 120-member parliament.

She currently serves as the deputy leader of the shura council that determines Ra’am policies. It was unclear if Khatib-Yasin would continue in the role if she replaces al-Harumi.

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)

Al-Harumi passed away early Wednesday after being rushed to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba after suffering a heart attack. He was 49. In July he had been appointed chairman of the Knesset Interior Committee.

There was no immediate comment from Ra’am or Khatib-Yasin on the subject of her entering the Knesset.

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