Increasing number of Israeli Jews back Arab parties: report

Israel's Jewish left-wing voters are now turning to Arab-led parties: report
2 min read
18 February, 2020
Israeli Jews' support for traditional left-wing parties is dwindling, as more and more turn to Arab-led parties, such as the Joint List, according to a Haaretz report.
Odeh currently leads the Joint List, who won 13 Knesset seats in September [Getty]
A growing number of Israeli Jews plan to vote for an Arab or mainly Arab list in the upcoming Israeli elections, according to a Haaretz report on Monday.

Disillusioned by Labor or Meretz, the traditional left-wing poltical forces in the Jewish state, a "record number" of Jewish voters are now throwing their weight behind Arab-led parties.

According to one voter in the report, it is now only Ayman Odeh, an Israeli-Arab lawyer turned politician, who can lead "a social-democratic bloc dedicated to society and coexsistence".

"Arabs are a repressed minority in Israel, and I want there to be a voice that represents them," Ravid, a resident of a Kibbutz in Central Israel, told Haaretz.

Read more: Israel adopts controversial Jewish nation-state law that marginalises Arab citizens 


"At one time I could count on Meretz to fill that role, but I can't any longer," he added. 

In 2018, the Knesset passed the controversial nation-state law, seen by Arab Israelis as an attempt to downgrade them to second-class citizens by prioritizing the state's Jewish character.

Ravid also descried left-wing parties' "ambivalent response" to US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, praising the Joint List' "much clearer voice" on the matter.

Ayman Odeh's Joint List coalition, who won 13 (out of a total of 120) Knesset seats in September and are now pinning their hopes on their newly acquired voter demographic to secure even more.

According to the report, Meretz, which had two Arab Members of Knesset (MKs), lost all legitimacy as a party which could represent  both Jews and Arabs when it merged with Ehud Barak's party in last year's April election, a figure detested by Arabs in Israel.

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