Rev. Khader El-Yateem, one of the Democratic candidates for the 43rd District City Council seat covering Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and parts of Bensonhurst and Bath Beach, recently bought a house in Staten Island, Kings County Politics has learned.
El-Yateem closed on the house, 132 Marine Way, on February 17 – 10 days before he declared his candidacy for the city council seat. According to Property Shark records, El-Yateem took out a $434,000 mortgage on the house.
El-Yateem, who recently received the endorsement of the extreme left-leaning New York chapter of the Socialist Democrats, also owns a house in New Jersey as well as his house in Dyker Heights.
“I’m not moving from Dyker Heights. I’ve been living with my family for 22 years here and we love it,” said El-Yateem. “I bought the house in Staten Island to help my brother. He came to the country a few years ago. He currently lives in Bay Ridge and is disabled and not working and is divorced with five kids. The whole family pitched in.”
El-Yateem said similarly, the house in New Jersey belongs to his brother-in-law, Daniel Kuttab, who moved back to Jordan. Before he moved it was decided to transfer the deed in El-Yateem’s name and if he ever returns he will again get the ownership, according to El-Yateem.
El-Yateem, pastor of the Salam Arabic Lutheran Church, 414 80th Street in Bay Ridge, recently quit both his job at Maimonides Medical Center working as an outreach coordinator to the Arab-Muslim community and his volunteer job as treasurer for the Arab American Association of New York (AAANY).
“All the money I make is a matter of public record. I don’t see how [the houses] relates to this [city council] campaign,” said El-Yateem.
El-Yateem, the first Palestinian and Arab-American running for the City Council, is also unabashedly for Palestinian rights in the Israel, including a supporter of the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement against Israel. He says it is these views that put extra scrutiny on his campaign.
“Because I am a Palestinian and an Arab so many people put everything I do under a magnifying glass. My opponents in this race are using my identity against me and accuse me of anything. Some of the other candidates have even gone to Jews outside the district asking for money because they are running against an Arab, ” said El-Yateem. “But I will not tolerate it. I am very proud of who I am and my accomplishments.”