Issawi Frej


Issawi Frej
Issawi Frej.jpg
Ministerial roles
2021–Minister of Regional Cooperation
Faction represented in the Knesset
Personal details
Born (1963-12-14) 14 December 1963 (age 58)
Kafr Qasim, Israel

Issawi Frej (Arabic: عيساوي فريج, Hebrew: עִיסָאוּוִי פְרֵיג'; born 14 December 1963) is an Arab-Israeli politician who currently serves as a minister and was a member of the Knesset for Meretz in 2021 and was also an MK for the party between 2013 and 2019. As of June 2021, he is the Minister of Regional Cooperation. He is the second Muslim minister in Israeli history, after Raleb Majadle


Frej was born in Kafr Qasim, Israel, to a Muslim-Arab family.[1] His grandfather was killed in the Kafr Qasim massacre,[2] Frej is the eldest of twelve children. In 1982, he began studying accounting and economics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and later worked as an accountant.[3] Whilst at university, he joined the joint Jewish-Arab "Campus" group, and subsequently joined the Ratz party, which later merged into Meretz. He served on the secretariat of Peace Now, and was involved in the Geneva Accord.

Frej is married, with seven children. They reside in Kafr Qasim.[3]

Political career

Frej first ran for the Knesset in 2003, and was placed sixteenth on the Meretz list for the elections that year.[4] However, the party won only six seats. For the 2006 elections, he was placed seventh,[5] but Meretz won only five seats. In the 2009 elections, he was placed ninth,[6] but again failed to win a seat, as Meretz was reduced to three MKs. However, after being placed fifth on the party's list for the 2013 elections,[7] he entered the Knesset, after the party won six seats. Frej was re-elected in the 2015 elections, after being placed third on the Meretz list.[8] He was fourth on the party's list for the April 2019 elections, and was re-elected as the party won four seats. In June 2021, he joined the coalition government as the Minister of Regional Cooperation.[9] In July 2021, he resigned the Knesset under the Norwegian law.[10] He has been succeeded by Ali Salalha.


  1. ^ חירות גם לנשים הערביות Meretz Archived 14 October 2013[dead link]
  2. ^ Rivlin condemns ‘terrible crime’ of Kfar Kassem massacre The Times of Israel 26 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b Meet the new MK: Esawi Freige The Jerusalem Post, 30 January 2013
  4. ^ Candidates for the 16th Knesset Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  5. ^ List of Candidates: Meretz Knesset website
  6. ^ Meretz Knesset website (in Hebrew)
  7. ^ Meretz Central Elections Committee (in Hebrew)
  8. ^ Meretz list Central Elections Committee
  9. ^ "Israel's 36th gov't: Here is the list of new cabinet ministers". The Jerusalem Post | (in American English). Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  10. ^ "MK Issawi Frej to resign from Meretz under Norwegian law". The Jerusalem Post (in American English). 2021-07-10. Retrieved 2021-07-21.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links

  • Issawi Frej on the Knesset website