The Joint List

The Joint List
Leader: Ayman Odeh
Current Seats: 10 (6 as Hadash-Ta’al, 4 as United Arab List-Balad)
Recommended candidate for prime minister in the Twenty-First Knesset: No candidate (as Hadash-Ta’al and United Arab List-Balad)
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Supports

The Joint List is a unified ticket of four major Israeli Arab parties: communist Hadash, secular Arab interest Ta’al, conservative Islamist United Arab List, and nationalist Balad. In previous elections, the different parties have run together in various configurations, often too small to cross the electoral threshold on their own. After Avigdor Liberman advocated raising the threshold in lead up to the 2015 elections, the four parties banded together to become the third largest faction in the Knesset. In 2015, the Joint List released a set of principles, including support for a two-state solution. However, different factions within the list maintain their own positions. Balad, in particular, is not opposed to a two-state solution, but views it as only an interim step toward a single democratic state.

Hadash, Ta'al, the United Arab List, and Balad have struggled to reproduce the unity they demonstrated in the 2015 elections.

After the 2015 election, rotation agreements intended to balance representation among the Joint List’s constituent factions became perennial sources of disagreement, and the parties ceased to function as a unified bloc. In the April election, the Arab parties ran two separate lists Hadash-Ta’al, and United Arab List-Balad.

April’s elections saw the Arab parties collectively lose three seats, as compared with the Joint List’s performance in 2015. Voter turnout dropped from 63.5 percent to 49 percent in Arab communities. Several outside factors contributed to this, including the main opposition party, Kachol Lavan, campaigning on a commitment to not work with Arab parties, and voter intimidation/suppression efforts by Likud contractors, who illegally placed hidden cameras at polling stations in Arab municipalities. However, there was also a sense of disappointment in Israeli Arab politicians for the united ticket’s breakup. Accordingly, the four Arab parties supported Prime Minister Netanyahu’s initiative to dissolve the Knesset and move to new elections, seeing this as an opportunity for a do-over. Shortly after new elections were called in May, the Arab factions declared that they would restart the Joint List.

Hadash leade Ayman Odeh leads the Joint List.

Despite the announcement, mediation between the parties, overseen by a reconciliation committee consisting of prominent Israeli Arab scholars and activists, stalled. Negotiations broke down over a dispute between Hadash, Ta’al, and Balad over the twelfth and fourteenth spots on the Joint List. The reconciliation committee began preparing for an eventuality in which the merger failed to materialize, but Hadash, Ta’al, and the United Arab List ultimately decided to unite on July 28, just days before the deadline for final party registration. Balad confirmed it would join the next day. Both Balad and Ta’al stated they were joining with reservations about the assignment of seats at the bottom of the list.

Hadash chair Ayman Odeh, who leads the Joint List, has vowed not to sit in any coalition that includes Ehud Barak, presumably because of the former prime minister’s poor reputation among Israeli Arabs following the police shooting of 12 Arab citizens and one Gaza Palestinian in a series of October 2000 demonstrations.