Balad

A Hebrew acronym for National Democratic Assembly. Political party in the Israeli Knesset describing itself as a "democratic progressive national party for the Palestinian citizens of Israel." Balad, which was founded in 1995 by Azmi Bishara and other young, intellectual Palestinian citizens of Israel, seeks to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnic or national identity. Balad advocates for the recognition of Palestinians in Israel as a national minority entitled to group rights, including the right of cultural and educational autonomy. There have been numerous attempts from political factions in Israel (some successful, some not) to ban the party and several of its prominent members (such as Azmi Bishara and Haneen Zoabi) from parliamentary activity. See "Balad: A country of all its citizens, cultural autonomy for Arabs," Haaretz, Dec 23, 2002; and "Arab-Israeli politician Haneen Zoabi disqualified from re-election," Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian, December 19 2012.

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