Ra’am MK Saeed Alkharumi suddenly died at the age of 49 after suffering a heart attack in his car on his way home overnight Tuesday. He was rushed to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, where his death was pronounced.
Alkharumi was born to a Bedouin family in the Negev and spent his political career negotiating with the government to recognize illegal Bedouin villages. His demands regarding the Negev in exchange for joining the Bennett-Lapid government has been a source of controversy, with right-wing politicians accusing the government of “selling out the Negev.”
Alkharumi served as chairman of the Knesset’s Interior and Environmental Protection Committees. In the past, he served as secretary-general of the Islamic Movement in Israel and the head of the Segev Shalom Regional Council, the council of the Bedouin village where he lived.
Channel 20, a right-wing Israeli media outlet, aroused controversy by posting an article seemingly rejoicing over Alkharumi’s death, calling him “a terror supporter,” and quoting Mishlei: “באבוד רשעים רינה.” They later removed the article and apologized, saying that the article reflected the view of the author alone and that the network disagreed with the wording.
Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben Gvir responded to the news by stating: “Hypocrisy at its best: all the coalition members who so far have not found the time to utter one word about the IDF fighter who was critically wounded on Shabbos, are quick to respond to Alkharumi’s death.”
His statement also aroused controversy and he later sent the Jewish Press the following statement. “I did not celebrate the death of MK Alkharumi this morning, but I won’t for a moment forget that he is an enemy of the State of Israel and of IDF soldiers. I stand completely behind my tweet coming out against hypocritical politicians who are in a hurry to eulogize Alkharumi but did not offer a word and a half of support to the IDF soldier, a hero who has been hospitalized and fighting for his life after being shot the same terrorists that Alkharumi protected. Alkharumi legitimized attacks on soldiers, participated in events of support for the “martyrs,” supported Barghouti, and sought to destroy the Negev – hypocrites, we are fed up with you.”
Alkharumi, will be replaced by number five on the Ra’am list, Iman Khatib-Yasin, the first Knesset member to wear a hijab. She was previously elected to the Knesset as a member of the Joint List in 2020.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)