Israeli Arab Party Leader to Hold Landmark Meetings With U.S. Officials in Washington

MK Ayman Odeh, Joint Arab List chairman, will also be guest of honor at event hosted by American Jewish billionaire S. Daniel Abraham.

David Bachar

The chairman of the Joint Arab List party in Israel will hold groundbreaking talks during a U.S. visit with senior White House and State Department officials.

Knesset member Ayman Odeh, who begins his visit Monday night, will be the first prominent representative of Israel’s Arab community to engage in high-profile diplomatic talks in Washington, D.C., according to Ynet.

Along with the talks, Odeh will attend an event in his honor hosted by American Jewish billionaire S. Daniel Abraham, a champion of coexistence between Arabs and Jews. The lawmaker will also speak with media outlets such as The New York Times and the Washington Post, and meet with civil rights leaders at the Atlanta church of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

“The issues that matter to Israel’s Arab citizens are hardly represented in the international conversation,” Odeh told Ynet. “I’m going to the U.S. to bring that voice with me to influencing sources and opinion leaders, and to create contacts and connections with the progressive and civil rights movements.”

The Joint Arab List, a union of the Arab parties in Israel, was formed in the lead-up to elections in March and is now the country’s third largest political party.

During his visit to the United States, Odeh will participate in in "HaaretzQ: with NIF" - a first-of-its-kind conference to be held in New York on December 13.