MK Hanin Zoabi
MK Hanin Zoabi Flash 90

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) formally announced on Wednesday that she will be running for mayor in the city of Nazareth.

At the press conference in which she announced her candidacy, Zoabi said that she had no regrets about participating in the Mavi Marmara’s attempt to break Israel’s naval blockade in 2010.

Earlier this month, Zoabi admitted that she was considering running in Nazareth. If elected, she will be the first female Arab to head a city in Israel.

"I am hereby announcing my candidacy for mayor of Nazareth and am calling residents to support me to make the change they deserve, for a better life in the city we all love," Zoabi said during Wednesday’s news conference. "We will not allow our city and ourselves to continue to be treated like a backyard. This is our mission, this is our responsibility.”

Zoabi claimed that Arabs were being discriminated against in a way that “cries out to the heavens”, adding, "I come with a message of fostering excellence and professionalism in managing the city. Out of a vision of a modern and beautiful city that gives residents the best service, and in the same breath with a message of an uncompromising struggle against discrimination. We do not compromise with discrimination, we fight discrimination, eliminate it and cause it to pass from the world."

She added, "I'm not sorry that I got on the Mavi Marmara. Because of the Marmara, the residents of Nazareth and my people know that when I believe in human rights I go all the way.”

In addition to her participation in the Marmara incident, MK Zoabi has been criticized by her fellow MKs for meetings with Hamas terrorists and statements blaming Israel for terrorism against Jews and discouraging Israeli Arabs from serving in the IDF.

Prior to the last Knesset elections, the Elections Committee decided to disqualify Zoabi due to her support for terrorism. However, the High Court overturned the decision, allowing Zoabi to run against and to take a seat in the nineteenth Knesset.