The predominantly Arab Joint List party, which won 13 seats in 2015, will split into two separate tickets for this April’s Knesset election, after the Hadash faction failed to reach an agreement for a renewed alliance.
Earlier on Thursday, it was reported that the Joint List had split into three separate groups, with Hadash and Ta’al running on separate tickets, while the Balad and Ra’am factions would remain together.
With an electoral threshold of 3.25%, such a split would increase the chances of one or even two of the factions failing to enter the Knesset, seriously reducing the Israeli Arab population’s representation in the legislature.
But by Thursday afternoon, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, a member of the Hadash faction, announced that his party has reached an accord with Ahmed Tibi’s Ta’al faction, uniting the two parties on a single ticket.
The union leaves the Arab sector with two major lists for the 21st Knesset elections: a joint ticket of the Israeli communist party Hadash with Tibi’s Arab nationalist Ta’al, and a union of the secular Arab nationalist Balad faction with the United Arab List, itself an alliance of the Israeli Islamic Movement and a smaller Arab Bedouin party.
Last month, Ta’al chief Ahmed Tibi, who once served as an advisor to Yasser Arafat, announced that his faction would run independently of the Joint List.
According to Israel Hayom, the splits within the Arab factions caught the attention of the Palestinian Authority, with PA chief Mahmoud Abbas expressing concern the divisions could seriously impact Arab representation in the Knesset.
“We are concerned by the possibility of a split within the Palestinian population in Israel,” Abbas reportedly told Israeli Arab Knesset members.
The new alliance between Hadash and Ta’al could net as many as ten mandates in this year’s election, while the smaller Balad-United Arab List alliance may struggled to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold.