Controversial Arab lawmaker Hanin Zoabi, whose openly hostile stance against the State of Israel has angered many over the years, said on Saturday that she will not seek re-election in April’s general election.
“After 10 full years, I thank everyone, and I feel that the time has come to change the location, but not the way,” Knesset member Zoabi, a member of the Balad faction in the Joint Arab List, said in a statement.
“This is a moment when it is customary to conclude a period of self-examination and look into the future. I will not give myself a grade,” she said. “There were those who appreciated and even supported my actions and what I represented, and there were many more who hated and fought against me and my views.”
Zoabi’s announcement was not a surprise since it was widely believed that she would be required to step down due to internal Balad regulations.
She has sparked outrage in the past with comments in support of Hamas, labeling Israel Defense Forces’ soldiers as “murderers” and other similar rhetoric.
She participated in the 2010 naval convoy that attempted to break Israel’s security blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Ten activists were killed in violence aboard the Mavi Marmara ship when they attacked Israeli naval commandos who boarded the vessel.
In April 2018, Zoabi called for the State of Israel to be dissolved and replaced with either two states—one secular and one Palestinian, or one binational secular state.
Right-wing lawmakers, who have long called for her to be permanently banned from the Knesset over her incendiary comments, rejoiced on Sunday at her resignation.
“Zoabi should have been expelled from the Knesset six years ago,” said Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis of the Likud Party.
“It’s good that a senior representative of the fifth column is leaving the Knesset,” former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a tweet on Saturday. “I wish her all success in Gaza or Beirut.”
In June, Lieberman called Zoabi a “terrorist.”
Balad currently holds three of the Joint Arab List’s 13 seats.
A week ago, Balad party head Knesset member Jamal Zahalka also announced that he would not run in the upcoming election.