I had never heard of Tawfik Toubi before today, but it seems he was a remarkable man:
A Christian Arab, Toubi was elected to Israel’s first parliament in 1949. He was a founder of Maki, the Israeli communist party and its offshoot Rakah. He was later the Secretary General of Hadash, the Jewish/Arab socialist party.
He was elected to Knesset 12 times and served as an MK continuously from 1949 to 1990.
He was born in Palestine in 1922 and died yesterday, age 89.
I don’t write about Israeli internal politics much, but reading Haaretz’s obit today, I was struck by the unbelievable determination an Arab must have–Christian or not–to remain in Israel’s often revolving-door parliament for 40 straight years.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said on Saturday that Toubi was a “valued and impressive parliamentarian” that “left his mark on the Israeli parliament,” adding that he was a member of a confronting movement but “nevertheless insisted on respecting the rules of the game and knew how to apply them to himself in practice.”
Like his politics or not, the struggle for Jewish-Arab cooperation in Israel is one good soul lighter today.