The united list of Arab parties is projected to attain 15 seats in the Knesset.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
With over 90 percent of the election results unofficially counted, the Joint Arab List looks set to win 15 seats in the Knesset, the highest number it ever received since its formation in 2015.
This will make it the third-largest party in the Knesset, far outstripping two ultra-Orthodox parties that are projected to each get nine or 10 mandates as the next-biggest factions.
After the exit polls were published Monday night, however, Arab List head Ayman Odeh expressed mixed feelings due to the inability of the left-wing bloc to form a government.
“This is an unprecedented achievement for the Joint List and the entire Arab public,” he said. “It’s a humiliating failure for Blue and White. The only way to win is to present an alternative. Every time you break rightward, you’ll lose.”
He slammed the “racist approach” of the party that presented the only serious challenge to the Likud, “with its Jewish majority and Zionist majority.” Pointing out that his constituents came out in higher numbers than at any point in the last 20 years, he added, “We did our part. They failed.”
With 90% of the vote counted, Blue and White is currently projected to receive 32 seats to the Likud’s 36. The right-wing bloc as a whole is expected to gain 59 seats, which still leaves it two short of attaining an outright majority.
Ahmad Tibi, third on the Arab List, was both happy and angry at the results.
Addressing the party’s supporters, he talked up the achievement of “executing the biggest election success in decades” for Arab-Israeli citizens.
But he minced no words about the general outcome, condemning Blue and White chief Benny Gantz for “failing to repel Benjamin Netanyahu and the rise of the fascist bloc.”
The Joint Arab List is made up of four parties ranging from communists to Arab nationalists to Islamists.
Its political platform mimics the official position of the Palestinian Authority in the Jewish-Arab conflict. It calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on all land liberated by Israel in 1967, with its capital in eastern Jerusalem, the right of return for all Arab refugees and their descendants, and the destruction of all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
It says the Israeli government is a “regime of racist discrimination and national oppression,” claiming it opposes all national service programs to help integrate Arabs into Israeli society.