Israel, Politics

Christian Arab, Hadash leader and last member of first Knesset dies

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.
From Haaretz:

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.
Zichrono Livracha

3 thoughts on “Christian Arab, Hadash leader and last member of first Knesset dies

  1. Isn’t this man the anti-model for Jewish-Arab cooperation? He spent forty years in confrontation, instead of trying to better integrate and improve the conditions of his community into Israeli society. Not to stress the point, since no one is 100% anything, but it could be said that some of the current Jewish-Arab cooperation exists in spite of him. The only reason he’s being honored is because he died a really really old man. If only those who took his reigns had learned from his failures, and yes, MK Haneen Zoabi, I’m talking about you.

  2. I met him and worked in his party, as a proud Jew. What kind of confrontation are you talking about? Hadash and Maki continue exist because of the tradition of Jewish-Arab deep cooperation, as opposed to um, certain loyalties to bygone states….
    There’s issues in Hadash, including issues around nationalism, but I’d feel safer as a liberal Jew in a country run by Toubi than I do as a liberal Jew in a country that forbids me from getting married or seeing my clergy accorded the same rights from the state as anyone else’s.

  3. I don’t know anything about Toubi in particular but if he was a member of any Moscow-aligned Communist Party in the world in 1949 he would’ve been a forceful supporter of Uncle Joe. If he hadn’t been he would have been expelled.
    Those Jewish members of Hadash who lived in the Yishuv from Sept 1 1939-June 22 1941 would also have opposed fighing the Nazis, just as these musicians did during the same period:
    I’ll let the history majors here (if the know) tell you the significance of June 22 1941.
    Sure the Nazis murdered lots of Jews during WWII before that date, but the Jewish members of Hadash had their prorities.

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