Israel’s Arab parties form joint Knesset slate


TEL AVIV (JTA) — The Arab-Israeli Knesset factions have formed a joint slate ahead of Israel’s March 17 elections.

The united list formed Friday includes representatives from the secular Balad and Ta’al parties, the Islamic Movement and the Arab-Jewish socialist Hadash party, according to Israeli reports. Haifa attorney Ayman Odeh, a Hadash member who has never served in Knesset, will head the slate.

Last year, Israel raised the threshold for parties to enter the Knesset to 3.25 percent of the vote from 2 percent. The parties combined because they feared that running individually, they could all fall short of the higher threshold.

Hadash and Ra’am-Ta’al, a joint list, each currently hold four seats, and Balad holds three, for a total of 11 seats. Polls show the united slate gaining as many as 12 seats in the March election.

Hadash lawmaker Dov Khenin, who will be No. 8 on the combined list, will likely be the only Jewish member of the slate to enter Knesset.

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