MK Dr. Abdullah Abu Maarouf (Hadash) formally submitted his resignation from the Knesset on Wednesday, August 9, as part of the Joint List rotation deal, the stalled implementation of which had threatened a fissure within that parliamentary bloc.
Abu Maarouf, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of Israel, physician and resident of Yarka, an Arab-Druze village in the Western Galilee, played a leading role in the defense of democracy and the Arab community in Israel both within and outside the Knesset during his two year tenure there. Sa’id Alkhromi, of the Ra’am list, who will replace Abu Maarouf, was formerly head of the Segev Shalom regional council in southern Israel.
The Joint List is a bloc of four parties: the Arab-Jewish Hadash front of the Communist Party of Israel, the Palestinian nationalist Balad party, and the Ra’am and Ta’al Arab parties. These four parties formed an electoral coalition in 2015, ahead of the last general elections, primarily as a means of circumventing the governmental coalition’s raising of the electoral threshold from 2.5 to 3.75%. Following this anti-democratic step initiated by Netanyahu, Lieberman and their right-wing minions, the Arab community in Israel was faced with the very real possibility that none of its political parties would gain representation in the 20th Knesset. While there were not a few ideological opponents to the formation of the Joint List among the various constituent parties, thanks to its united run, it won 13 seats in the elections, making it the third largest bloc in the Knesset.
As part of the 2015 Joint List agreement, two MKs — Abu Maarouf and Ta’al’s Osama Saadi — were to step down after two years. The rotation deadline expired last month, setting off a bitter internal dispute. However, Abu Marrouf and his party’s ultimate determination to adhere to the agreement is based on the recognition and conviction that the Joint List has a vital role to play in future electoral campaigns, with the aim of defending the rights and identity of the Arab national minority in Israel, which is the target of an unrelenting campaign of delegitimization by the undemocratic forces of the right.
Abu Maarouf’s resignation goes into effect, today, Friday, August 11.