(1956- ) A
Palestinian citizen of
Israel and political and intellectual figure. Prior to his entry into political life, Bishara taught for ten years at Birzeit University in the
West Bank, including heading the Philosophy and Cultural Studies Department from 1994-1996. A founder and member of the National Democratic Assembly party, known as
Balad, Bishara was elected to the
Israeli Knesset in 1996. Balad and Bishara called for Israel to be "a state for all its citizens," infuriating right-wing Jewish Israelis, who unsuccessfully sought to get Balad kicked out of the Knesset, on grounds that this slogan violated a law that upheld Israel's status as a state for the Jewish people. Bishara resigned from parliament in 2007 and, as of 2015, is in self-exile after Israel opened a criminal investigation against him, claiming that he offered information to
Hezbollah during Israel's
2006 Lebanon War; Bishara has denied these accusations. In 2011, the Israeli parliament stripped him of his pension and other Parliamentary benefits after passing a law related to revoking citizenship that has been nicknamed "the Bishara Bill." He currently resides in Qatar and serves as the General Director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. See "
A lawmaker vanishes," The Economist, April 19, 2007; and "
Knesset passes law revoking citizenship for treason,"
Jerusalem Post, Rebecca Ann Stoil, March 28, 2011.