''LOOK beyond the veil'' says Israel's first hijab - wearing law maker.

NAZARETH : A female Muslim lawmaker from Israel's Arab minority is set to become the first in parliament to wear a jib, or head scarf, after Arab parties won their largest ever showing in this week's election.

Iman Yassin Khatib, 55, won a place on the Joint List coalition's slate of 15 seats in the 120 member Knesset.

The party draws most of its votes from  Israel's  21 percent Arab minority - who are Palestinian by heritage but Israeli by citizenship.

The mother of four served as the manager of a community centre in the Galilee village of Yafat an-Nasreeh on the outskirts of Nazareth, the city where Jesus grew up, before entering national politics.

''There is no way [the hijab] won't capture people's attention. But what's more important is inside : the ability and potential to advance our community,'' said Khatib as she accepted congratulations and posed for selfies on a street in Nazareth.

Khatib felt her hijab had sometimes stirred anti-Islam sentiment in Israel, whose nine million population is mostly Jewish.
''Every challenge I faced in my life was made harder because I wear a hijab,'' she said. But she urged people to ''look beyond the veil.''

Israel's Arab minority is mostly descended from the Palestinians who lived under the Ottoman and then  British colonial rule before staying in Israel after the country's 1948 creation.

It is predominantly Muslim, but also includes members of the Christian and Druze faiths. [Reuters]


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