The Joint List

Leader: Ayman Odeh
Current Seats: 11
Government/Opposition in Last Knesset: Opposition
Supports/Opposes Two-State Solution: Supports

The Joint List is a union of three (originally four) predominantly Palestinian parties: communist Hadash, Arab nationalist Balad, and the United Arab List. Each of the Joint List’s constituent blocs are small and feared missing the electoral threshold (raised to 3.25 percent in 2015), leading to the union of several parties that might otherwise have run separately.

The Joint List's constituent parties represent disparate ideologies — communism, Islamism, and Arab nationalism.

It is difficult to pin a specific ideology on the Joint List. Its member parties’ ideologies seem contradictory: communism, nationalism, and Islamism. Indeed, the parties may only be united in a pragmatic pursuit for political survival and in varying degrees of antipathy toward Israel and Zionism. In the run-up to the last election, Ayman Odeh sought to pre-empt concerns among left-wing Hadash voters that uniting with religiously conservative Islamist factions might undermine his party’s support for progressive positions like gender equality. Officially, the Joint List supports a two-state solution, although individual members have spoken out against the legitimacy of the State of Israel. Its platform references a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees, with some members advocating a full right of return, a position not accepted by the mainstream Israeli left. Before the 2015 elections, the party vowed to remain outside any Israeli government coalition, whether led by Netanyahu’s Likud or by a center-left bloc. Israeli center-left parties, for their part, are reticent to form a coalition with the Joint List, owing to its perceived extremism.

MK Ayman Odeh of Hadash leads the Joint List.

After the 2015 elections, the Joint List was the third-largest faction in the Knesset, with 13 seats. The united entity featured complicated rotation mechanisms to balance the representation of the Joint List’s member parties. However, the resignation of several members (including one convicted of smuggling cell phones to terrorists) have impeded this rotation process. In early January, Ta’al leader Ahmad Tibi withdrew his party from the Joint List. Tibi is popular among Palestinian Israeli citizens: according to one poll, Ahmad Tibi has the support of nearly twice as many Arab voters as Ayman Odeh, who currently heads Hadash and the Joint List as a whole.