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Dr Jamal Zahalka
is an Israeli Arab who serves as a member of the Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...
representing the democratic Balad party. He is a Balad party leader.
Zahalka studied pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; ; abbreviated HUJI) is Israel's second-oldest university, after the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The Hebrew University has three campuses in Jerusalem and one in Rehovot. The world's largest Jewish studies library is located on its Edmond J...
, earning a BA, MA and PhD, and then worked as a pharmacist.
He was first elected to the Knesset in 2003 on Balad's list, and was re-elected in 2006.
After Azmi Bishara
Azmi Bishara , a former member of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, is a Palestinian intellectual, academic, politician, and writer.In 2007, Bishara fled Israel and resigned from the Knesset after being questioned by police on suspicion of aiding and passing information to the enemy during...
fled the country, Zahalka became Balad's leader. He headed the party's list in the 2009 elections
Elections for the 18th Knesset were held in Israel on 10 February 2009. These elections became necessary due to the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as leader of the Kadima party, and the failure of his successor, Tzipi Livni, to form a coalition government...
, and was returned to the Knesset as the party won three seats.
Zahalka is an active member of Knesset, and is a member of the Education, Culture, and Sports Committee; the Committee on Drug Abuse; and the Economic Affairs Committee in the 18th Knesset.
Zahalka lives in Kafr Qara
and is married with three children.
Views on the treatment of Palestinians by Israel
Zahalka describes Israel's political discourse about the Palestinians as revolving around the ideas of separation, apartheid, and transfer. He argues that an apartheid system is already in place, with the West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...
and Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...
separated into "cantons," and Palestinians required to carry permits to travel between them.