Dr. Azmi Bishara, 46, was born and raised in Nazareth. Bishara is a political scientist, and worked at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute and Bir Zeit University. He is a strong supporter of the concept of turning Israel into a state of all its citizens.

Bishara has been active in politics since he was in high school, when he established the National Committee of Arab High School Students. At university, he had a hand in establishing, and was part of, Arab student committees and campus groups in Jerusalem and Haifa. Bishara was one of the founders of Muwatin, the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy, and of the Society for Arab Culture.

In 1996, he was elected for the Knesset as part of the Hadash-Balad faction, and in 1999 he ran with Ahmed Tibi, head of the Ta'al party, receiving two Knesset seats. Following differences between the two, the joint list fell apart after the elections. Bishara is the first Arab member of Knesset who ran for prime minister, against Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak in 1999.

Bishara is married and lives in Nazareth.

Knesset career: Member of Economics Committee; Constitution, Law and Justice Committee and Committee for Foreign Workers (14th Knesset) Member of Constitution, Law and Justice Committee; Education and Culture Committee and State Control Committee (15th Knesset)

E-mail abishara@knesset.gov.il