Tawfik Toubi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Tawfik Toubi
Tawfik Toubi.jpg
Date of birth11 May 1922
Place of birthHaifa, Mandatory Palestine
Date of death12 March 2011(2011-03-12) (aged 88)
Place of deathHaifa, Israel
Knessets1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Faction represented in Knesset

Tawfik Toubi (Arabic: توفيق طوبي‎, Hebrew: תופיק טובי‬‎, 11 May 1922 – 12 March 2011) was an Israeli Arab communist politician. He was the last surviving member of the first Knesset. Tawfik Toubi was married to Olga and one of his sons, Elias Toubi, studied medicine in Leningrad.[1]


Toubi was born in Haifa to an Arab Orthodox family in 1922,[2] and was educated at the Mount Zion School in Jerusalem. He joined the Palestine Communist Party in 1941 and later was one of the founders of the League for National Liberation, which originally opposed partition of Palestine but later came to accept it, after the Soviet Union indicated that it would support partition. He was elected to the Knesset in Israel's first elections in 1949 as a member of Maki. He was re-elected in 1951, 1955, 1959 and 1961. In 1965 he was involved in a breakaway from Maki to form Rakah, and was voted back into the Knesset on the new party's list later in the same year. In 1976, he was elected deputy secretary general of the new Hadash party, an alliance of Rakah and several other smaller left-wing and Israeli Arab parties. He served as Hadash's secretary-general from 1989 to 1993,[3] and was elected to the Knesset on Hadash's list in 1977, 1981, 1984 and 1988, before resigning from the Knesset in July 1990 and being replaced by Tamar Gozansky. Toubi was also publisher and editor of Arab language Communist paper Al Ittihad.[4] He retired from the Knesset in 1990, after a 41-year tenure, and died on 12 March 2011, at age 88.[5]


Toubi is remembered as one of the two MKs (the other being Meir Vilner) who exposed the Kafr Qasim massacre, and is seen by the Israeli left as a fighter against racism.[6] He is regarded as father of the 'state of all its citizens' formula, which he brought up when the Knesset debated the Basic Law in 1985. It now appears in the Meretz platform, and is supported by the left, the post-Zionists and all the Arab MKs.[7] He is seen less favorably by the Israeli right, although he is remembered as more of a respected adversary than a militant anti-Zionist (such as Azmi Bishara).[8]

In 1949, Israeli poet Nathan Alterman wrote:

Who is Tawfik Tubi? A Knesset member,
a Communist, an Arab who sits
in that House by full right...
That's democracy, not always easy,
but if we don't understand this part,
we haven't gotten anything at all.[9]

Toubi raised the issue of the right of return for Palestinian refugees on at least two occasions in the Knesset. After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, he demanded that the inhabitants of al-Birwa be allowed to return to their homes, a request refused by David Ben-Gurion.[10] After the 1967 war, he requested from Moshe Dayan that the inhabitants of Yalo be allowed to return to their homes, but it too was denied.[11] In 2012, the discourses and articles of Tawfik Toubi were published in Israel by his wife Olga and his son Elias. Tawfik Toubi is accepted, honored and rewarded by the Israeli establishment.[12]


  1. ^ http://allergists4israel.org/newsletters/2010-afi-12.pdf[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Knesset Members - Tawfik Toubi". Retrieved 26 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Last member of Israel's first Knesset dies at 89". Ha'aretz. 13 March 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2015.
  4. ^ Daves, Bryan. "Tawfiq Tubi: Information and Much More from Answers.com". Answers.com. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  5. ^ Obituary of Tawfik Toubi The Independent, 2011-03-29
  6. ^ Gozansky, Tamar (2006-10-30). "From massacre to Lieberman". Ynet. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  7. ^ Samet, Gideon. "The battle for a 'state of all its citizens'". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 2010-11-19. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  8. ^ Hoffman, Gil (2007-04-12). "The rise of 'Bish-Arabism'". Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-01-05.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "The Head Heeb: The Arab Representatives: First Knesset". Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  10. ^ Kacowicz and Lutomski, 2007, p. 139.
  11. ^ Karmi, 1999, p. 87.
  12. ^ http://maki.org.il/he/party/137-news/13555-2012-03-28-19-38-17


  • Karmi, Ghada (1999). The Palestinian Exodus, 1948–1998. University of London, Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law. Garnet & Ithaca Press. ISBN 0-86372-244-X.
  • Kacowicz, Arie Marcelo; Lutomski, Pawel (2007). Population Resettlement in International Conflicts: A Comparative Study. Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739116074.

External links[edit]