Arab voter in 2018 (archive)
Arab voter in 2018 (archive) Roy Alima/Flash90

More than a quarter of Israeli Arab voters backed non-Arab parties in this year’s Knesset election, a new study of election results shows.

According to a report by the Palestinian Media Watch organization, which monitors incitement in the Palestinian Authority, 27.2% of residents of Israeli Arab towns voted for non-Arab parties.

While not all of Israel’s 1.89 million Arabs live in Arab towns, a majority of eligible Israeli Arab voters do.

The study used the 829,673 eligible voters living in Arab towns as a proxy for the Israeli Arab vote at large, since Israeli Arab voters living in mixed cities, such as Jaffa and Haifa, often share voting precincts with Jewish residents, and distinguishing Arab from Jewish votes in such cities would be virtually impossible.

Of the nearly 830,000 eligible Israeli Arab voters from Arab towns, 49.6% voted in the elections for the 21st Knesset, held on April 9th.

Some 72.8% of these voters backed Arab parties. While a number of Arab factions ran in the election, the vast majority of Arab voters backed either the joint ticket of the Hadash and Ta’al factions, which won a combined six seats, or the joint ticket of the United Arab List and Balad, which gained a total of four seats.

But 27.2% of voters from Arab towns, or 112,034 people, voted for non-Arab parties.

More than half of these voters backed left-wing or center-left parties.

The far-left Meretz faction received 35,783 votes from Arab towns, or 8.69% of the total vote from these communities. That is more than the amount needed for a single seat in the Knesset – a seat in 2019 being equivalent to almost 33,000 votes – and pushed Meretz above the minimum electoral threshold.

The next biggest recipient of votes from Arab towns was the center-left Blue and White party, which received 33,453 votes, or 8.1% of the vote from Israeli Arab towns. This is roughly equivalent to a single seat in the Knesset.

Labor, by contrast, received just 1.37% of the vote from Arab towns, or 5,539 votes, significantly less than a number of right-wing parties.

Only one haredi party, Shas, received a significant number of votes from Arab towns, garnering 6,516 votes, or 2% of all ballots cast in Arab communities.

The five largest right-wing parties – Likud, Kulanu, Yisrael Beytenu, the New Right, and the United Right – received a total of 6.44% of all votes from Arab towns, or 26,542 ballots. The Likud was the largest recipient of these votes, garnering 2.29% of the total vote from Arab towns, compared to 2.25% for Kulanu, 1.58% for Yisrael Beytenu, and 0.32% for the United Right and the New Right factions combined, which together received 1,379 votes from Arab towns.

Other Zionist or haredi parties, including Zehut, Magen, the United Torah Judaism party, and Gesher got a total of 2,449 votes, or 0.59% of all ballots from Arab towns.