Getty Images

Ayman Odeh

Ordinarily, it’s difficult for a non-Jewish politician to break through in Israeli politics. Arab Israelis may account for every fifth resident of the country, but in its parliament, the Knesset, they are routinely relegated to a corner. All of which makes Ayman Odeh, the head of Israel’s Arab parliamentarians, all the more extraordinary. As the contest for leadership of the self-declared Jewish state teetered between right-wing and centrist factions, Odeh emerged not only as a possible kingmaker but also as a stirring new voice for equality and inclusion. “We have proven,” he says, “that cooperation between people, Arab and Jewish, is the only principled political strategy that will lead to a better future for all.” —Karl Vick

TIME may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.