Habibi, Emil°

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HABIBI, EMIL ° (1922–1996), Israeli Arab poet and Knesset member. A Christian Arab born in Haifa, after 1948 he was a founder of the Israel Communist Party and a Knesset member on its behalf. He left the Knesset in 1972 to devote himself to editing Al-Ittihad and to his literary work. In 1983 he founded the Committee of Israeli and Palestinian Writers, Artists and Academics, on which he served as chairman until he died. In 1990 he founded the Arabesque Publishing House. In 1991 he withdrew from active political life. In 1992 he received the Israel Prize for literature and poetry. In 1995 he began publishing Masharef, a periodical of Palestinian literature. He wrote several novels as well as shorter items, many of which have been translated from Arabic into Hebrew. His writings, which opened a window to the Palestinian experience in general and in Israel in particular, express his special feeling for Haifa, the city of his birth, where he also chose to be buried. The inscription on his tombstone sums up this emotional and political connection: "I Stayed in Haifa."

[Shaked Gilboa (2nd ed.)]