Israeli Arab Parties Poised to Forge Joint Ticket for Knesset Election

Any showing below 12 or 13 seats in the 120-seat parliament would be a failure, one party official says.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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MKs from the Arab parties meet in early December 2014 to discuss forming a joint bloc.
MKs from the Arab parties meet in early December 2014 to discuss forming a joint bloc.Credit: No credit
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hadash and the Arab parties are expected to unveil a joint Knesset ticket by Thursday, in light of the increase in the electoral threshold to 3.25 percent from 2 percent, party officials say.

The four parties involved are Balad, United Arab List-Ta’al, the Islamic Movement and Hadash — a Jewish-Arab party. The sticking point is the distribution of slots on the prospective slate; United Arab List-Ta’al, for example, wants the second spot.

Balad and Hadash are expected to hold a crucial meeting Wednesday; lower down on the ticket, both sides are demanding the 10th and 13th slots, though party officials say any disagreement can be overcome.

The talks among the four parties have sped up in recent days, particularly after the Hadash and Balad primaries. One Arab Knesset member said the police’s killing of a Bedouin youth during a drug raid last week — and the subsequent protests — had spurred the sides to make progress. He also mentioned the killing of six Hezbollah militants in Syria, which the foreign press has attributed to Israel.

“After all the incidents in Rahat and on the Syrian Golan Heights and their implications, unity is the only way,” the MK told Haaretz.

A joint campaign would probably focus on making sure Arab voters go out to vote.

“The campaign needs to be simple, to the point and not aggressive, to avoid provoking counterresponses on the Israeli street as well,” said a key activist in one of the parties. “Each party should work to get every person on its list into the Knesset, up to the 15th slot, since any representation below 12 or even 13 MKs is a failure after so much effort.”

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