Arab Joint List collapses, now down to faction of three

“We were unable to reach agreements, we tried for hours and so far it is clear that the Joint List will not continue,” said one of the members.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

The Joint List, the third largest party in the Knesset with 15 seats, is breaking up despite feverish efforts by its leaders to hold it together.

The faction is made up of four Arab parties. Three will continue to run as one list – Hadash, Ta’al and Balad. A fourth partner, Ra’am, or the United Arab List, will run alone.

“We were unable to reach agreements, we tried for hours and so far it is clear that the Joint List will not continue,” said one of the Ta’al members.

The disagreement that led to the split centers around whether to work with “Zionist” parties to achieve gains for the Arab sector. The leader of Ra’am, Mansour Abbas, argued that the Joint List should do so. He has urged the others to cooperate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the good of their constituents.

“If the Joint List goes on the path I am presenting, the Joint List has a chance of continuing to exist,” Abbas told Channel 20 in November. “If the Joint List repeats the same mistakes and stances that don’t help Arab society, it loses its justification for existing.”

But his approach of ‘bringing home the bacon’ for their voters didn’t sit well with the others in his faction, who are more extreme in their approach.

Ayman Odeh, for example, who heads the Joint List and is leader of Hadash, has expressed his solidarity with Hamas and Fatah. Likewise, the Balad party has been twice banned by Israel’s Central Elections Committee for its terror support. Ta’al has also once been banned.