In a press conference, MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) announced Wednesday her intention to run for the position of mayor in her hometown of Nazareth as part as of the upcoming municipal elections scheduled to take place this October.
Zoabi said she made the decision after consulting with her fellow party members. She is to run against the current mayor Ramiz Jaraisy and Nazareth Deputy Mayor Ali Salam.
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Referring to Arab citizens' criticism that she could protect the rights of her constituents from the Knesset more than she could from the Nazareth mayor's seat, the MK insisted that the mayoral position bore meaning that expands Nazareth municipal borders.
"This is a city that is the capital of the Arab public. This would be the first time an Arab woman runs for mayor under direct election.
Zoabi added that she was running "with a message of equality for women, of an egalitarian society… of a message that women can be professional leaders.
"I was told that the government would not be comfortable if I was mayor, and I say 'fine'; as long as the city's residents are comfortable and that their rights are protected."
She added that the city's problems were getting worse and that people were living in fear due to mounting crime rates. "That problem can be fixed."
According to her, "city residents who are not close with the leader are dismissed and neglected, marginalized and even discriminated… No one is looking out for citizens… my vision is a modern, thriving and blooming city."
Two weeks ago Zoabi announced that she was "seriously considering" running for mayor.
After is was reported that Zoabi was considering mayorship, a senior Balad official told Ynet: "The issue of Hanin Zoabi running for Nazareth mayor came up a while ago. We are still deliberating – today we're holding another meeting in an attempt to reach decisions. Balad is divided on the issue of Zoabi running – some are for it and others are against being a part of the (mayoral) election."
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