Aida Touma-Suleiman

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Aida Touma-Suleiman
עאידה תומא סלימאן.jpg
Date of birth (1964-07-16) 16 July 1964 (age 55)
Place of birthNazareth, Israel
Knessets20, 21, 22
Faction represented in Knesset
2015–2019Joint List
2019–Hadash-Ta'al
2019-Joint List

Aida Touma-Suleiman (Arabic: عايدة توما سليمان‎, Hebrew: עאידה תומא סלימאן; born 16 July 1964) is an Israeli Arab journalist and politician.

Biography[edit]

Aida Touma-Suleiman was born in Nazareth, Israel, into a Christian Arab family,[1] and gained a B.A. in psychology and Arabic literature from the University of Haifa. Touma-Suleiman lives in Acre with her two daughters. Her husband Jiris Suleiman died from cancer in 2011.[2]

Political career[edit]

Touma-Suleiman founded the Arab feminist group Women Against Violence in 1992, and has been its CEO since its foundation. She joined the Hadash party, later becoming editor in chief of Al-Ittihad, an Arabic language newspaper owned by the Israeli Communist Party, a faction in Hadash. She also became the first female member of the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel. She also co-found the International Women's Commission for a Just Palestinian-Israeli Peace.[3]

She was placed 47th on its list for the 1992 elections, in which it won only three seats. She was 36th on the Hadash-Balad for the 1996 elections, although the alliance won only five seats. In the next elections in 1999, she was 28th on the Hadash list, again failing to enter the Knesset.[4]

The 2009 elections saw her placed fifth on the Hadash list, but the party won only four seats. After contesting the second place on the party's list for the 2013 elections against the incumbent Hana Sweid, a victory for Sweid meant that she was placed 98th on the party's list.[5]

Prior to the 2015 elections, Hadash joined the Joint List, an alliance with Balad, the United Arab List, and Ta'al. Touma-Suleiman was placed fifth on the Joint List list,[6] and was elected to the Knesset as the alliance won 13 seats.[7] She is also only the fourth Arab Israeli woman to become a member of the Knesset, following Hussniya Jabara (Meretz), Hanin Zoabi (Joint Arab List), and Nadia Hilou (Labor).[1]

Speaking in the Knesset, she has shared her views on the path to peace: "The Palestinian people will continue to struggle as long as there's an occupation. The only way for true humane security for the two peoples consists of an end to the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state with its capital in eastern Jerusalem."[8]

In June 2015, she was elected to head the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality. Suleiman was appointed to this position through a unanimous vote. She has attended hearings of the committee since 1992. Suleiman noted that she is planning for cooperative efforts with the Ministry for Social Equality head, Gila Gamliel, who is also responsible for gender equality.[3]

In an interview with an American Jewish student newspaper in 2016, Suleiman explained in "eloquent" English that she condemned Saudi Arabia and other gulf nations that support such terrorist organizations as ISIS. She also spoke of Hezbollah, Israel, and the current situation: "As a woman living in a place that suffered Hezbollah's bombardment, when there was a need to condemn the bombing of a civilian population, we were the first to do so. And when it was necessary to condemn the Israeli government - we did that too. I believe that this gives us the right to make complex observations, since the situation is complex."[9] In 2019, she was criticial of Arab countries normalizing diplomatic ties with Israel and said it was important for Palestinians to preserve their Arab identity.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Knesset votes in first-ever Arab committee chair Times of Israel, 3 June 2015
  2. ^ עאידה תומא סלימאן מחויבת לנשים החלשות. ושדיילות אל-על יחכו Haaretz, 11 July 2015 (in Hebrew)
  3. ^ a b First female Arab Israeli lawmaker to head Knesset committee Al Arabiya News, 5 June 2015
  4. ^ Hadash Israel Democracy Institute
  5. ^ Hadash Israel Democracy Institute (in Hebrew)
  6. ^ Joint List list Central Elections Committee
  7. ^ Final Unofficial* results of the Elections for the Twentieth Knesset Central Elections Committee
  8. ^ 'We're Just Waiting for the Next Round with Gaza Arutz Sheva, 7 July 2015
  9. ^ When MKs attempt to speak English Ynetnews, 27 March 2016
  10. ^ 'Arab MK: Netanyahu prevents Palestinian state Arutz Sheva, 23 September 2019

External links[edit]