Joint List

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Joint List
Hebrew nameהרשימה המשותפת
Arabic nameالقائمة المشتركة
LeaderAyman Odeh
Founded23 January 2015; 8 years ago (2015-01-23)
20 June 2019; 4 years ago (2019-06-20)
Dissolved21 February 2019 (first)
15 September 2022 (second)[1]
HeadquartersNazareth, Israel[2]
Political positionLeft-wing[8][9][10]
Member partiesBalad
Mada (2021–2022)
Ra'am (until 2021)
Colors  (combined)
      (component parties)
Most MKs15 (2020)
Election symbol

Website (he) (ar)

The Joint List (Arabic: القائمة المشتركة, al-Qa'imah al-Mushtarakah, Hebrew: הָרְשִׁימָה הַמְּשֻׁתֶּפֶת, HaReshima HaMeshutefet) was a political alliance of four of the Arab-majority political parties in Israel: Hadash, Balad, Ra'am and Ta'al. Ra'am left the alliance on 28 January 2021.[12] With Balad wanting to leave the coalition, it was subsequently dissolved in 2022.[13]

The alliance was the third-largest faction in the Knesset after the 2015 election, estimated to have received 82% of the Arab vote.[14] In January 2019, Ta'al split from the alliance, and the remaining coalition was dissolved on 21 February 2019.[15] The Joint List was reestablished on 28 July for the September 2019 election,[16] in which it was again the third-largest faction.[17] In the 2020 elections, the Joint List increased its seats from 13 to 15, described by Haaretz as "an unprecedented showing".[18] In the buildup to the 2021 elections, the Islamic conservative-leaning United Arab List or Ra'am left the Joint List due to ideological disagreements and ran on its own, gaining four seats, while the seats held by the Joint List fell to six.


Ayman Odeh (right) and Shady Haliya
Activists of the Joint List during the 2015 elections

The Joint List was formed in the build-up to the 2015 elections as an alliance of Balad, Hadash, Ta'al, and the United Arab List (the southern branch of the Islamic Movement). The northern branch of the Islamic Movement denounced the entire electoral project.[19] When formed, the alliance was temporarily known as Wamab.[20]

The agreement between the parties was signed on 22 January,[21] marking the first time the major Arab parties had run as a single list.[22] Balad, Hadash, and the United Arab List had run separately for elections since the 1990s (Balad and Hadash ran together in 1996), whilst Ta'al had run in alliance with all three during the 1990s and 2000s. However, the raising of the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25% led to the parties creating an alliance to increase their chances of crossing the threshold,[21] as both Hadash and Balad received less than 3% of the vote in the 2013 elections. Initially, the parties mulled running as two blocs (Hadash with Ta'al, and Balad with the Islamic Movement), but party representatives said pressure from the Arab public pushed them to join forces.[23][24]

The alliance's list for the 2015 elections was headed by Ayman Odeh, the newly-elected leader of Hadash, followed by Masud Ghnaim (United Arab List), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), and Ahmad Tibi (Ta'al), with the following places alternating between Hadash, the Islamic Movement, and Balad. The 12th to 14th places were subject to rotation agreements between the parties.[25]

Before the April 2019 election, Ta'al left the alliance, which led to the formation of two lists, Balad-Ra'am and Hadash-Ta'al.

On 22 September 2019, following the September 2019 election, Odeh and the Joint List endorsed Benny Gantz for prime minister, the first time that an Arab party endorsed anyone for prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin in 1992.[26] However, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced on 23 September that the Joint List's three Balad MKs had abstained from endorsing a candidate, thus putting Gantz behind incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in total MK recommendations,[27] though the Joint List's endorsement of Gantz did account for 10 of the political bloc's 13 MKs.[27] After the 2020 election, the Joint List unanimously supported Gantz.[28] However, after the formation of a unity government, it remained in the opposition.

After new elections were pending, tensions arose in the alliance, whereupon Ra'am and Ta'al left the joint list (the latter rejoined this shortly afterwards).[12][29] During the election campaign and after party lists had been submitted, the Ma'an party withdrew its candidacy and endorsed the Joint List, becoming a new member of the alliance.[30]

Politics and ideology[edit]

The list was ideologically diverse, and included communists, socialists, feminists, Islamists, and Arab nationalists.[31][32][22] After having united parties with various political agendas, Odeh met with Jewish Hadash activists and former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg (who had endorsed Hadash), in an attempt to allay concerns that the new alliance would dilute the party's principles, such as gender equality.[33]

The alliance's 2015 election campaign focused on preventing Benjamin Netanyahu from forming a government and helping the Labor Party–led Zionist Union do so instead.[22][34]

The Joint List was not united in terms of support for Jewish–Arab co-operation, supported mainly by Hadash. In March 2015 (after the Zionist Union had signed a vote-sharing agreement with Meretz, and Kulanu with Israel Beytenu), officials from the Zionist Union, Meretz, and Yesh Atid explored the idea that the Zionist Union and Meretz revoke their agreement so that the Zionist Union could share surplus votes with Yesh Atid, and Meretz with the Joint List, to potentially strengthen the dovish bloc in the Knesset.[35] However, the offer caused intra-list tension; Hadash (including Dov Khenin and Joint List chief Odeh) and the United Arab List supported the partnership with Meretz, but the Islamic Movement and especially Balad opposed it.[36][37][38] According to Nahum Barnea, most of the List, including Jamal Zahalka of Balad, supported the agreement, but Qatar, which reportedly funds Balad, sided with the extremist elements within Balad and had the party come out against it.[39] After the Joint List announced it would not share votes with any party, Meretz officials declared that the List had chosen nationalism and separatism over Jewish–Arab solidarity.[40] A post-election analysis showed that no agreement between these left-of-center parties would have made a difference to the final result.[41]

2015 elections[edit]

The party logos in 2015.
The Joint List during the consultation process at President Reuven Rivlin's official residence, after the 2015 elections

The Joint List won 13 seats in the 2015 Knesset elections with 10.6% of the total vote, becoming the third-largest party in the 20th Knesset.[42] Odeh stated that he intended for the alliance to work on shared issues with center-left Jewish opposition parties and seek membership of key parliamentary committees.[43]

One of the party's first actions after the elections was to trade the two seats that, as the third-largest faction, it was entitled to on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for two more seats on the Finance Committee, primarily to better address its constituents' financial and housing concerns.[44]

2020 elections[edit]

Joint List 2020 logo (Arabic)

The Joint List won 15 seats with 12.67% of the vote in the 2020 Knesset elections, remaining as the third-largest party in the Knesset until Yesh Atid split off from Blue and White to lead the opposition. This set a new record for percentage of the vote and number of seats for an Arab party.[45] This was in part due to an increase in support from the Jewish left, as Ayman Odeh's campaigning in Jewish areas helped draw those voters away from the declining establishment left-wing parties.[46]

2021 elections[edit]

The Joint List ran in the 2021 Knesset election without the United Arab List (Ra'am), who had withdrawn from it several months prior to the vote; it won 4,81% of votes and six seats, a sharp decline compared to previous elections. Such decline was mainly due to the fact that Ra'am ran separately from the List and to the partial resurgence of the Jewish left (Israeli Labor Party and Meretz), who increased their votes and seats.[47]

The Joint List refused to condemn the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine and even refused to attend the speech of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Knesset.[48] This position was harshly criticized by Israeli political scientist Dahlia Scheindlin, who dismissed such position as "shameful".[49]


Leader Took office Left office
Ayman Odeh 2015 2022

Election results[edit]

Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
2015[c] 446,583 10.61
13 / 120
Increase 2 Opposition
Sep 2019[d] 470,211 10.60
13 / 120
Increase 3 Opposition
2020 581,507 12.67
15 / 120
Increase 2 Opposition
2021[e] 212,583 4.81
6 / 120
Decrease 5 Opposition


  1. ^ a b c Hadash
  2. ^ a b c Balad
  3. ^ Joint List did not run together in the 2013 Israeli legislative election; seat adjustment calculated from parties that were affiliated with it
  4. ^ Joint List did not run together in the April 2019 Israeli legislative election; seat adjustment calculated from parties that were affiliated with it
  5. ^ without Ra'am's seats from 2020


  1. ^ "Balad splits from Joint List, throwing Arab electorate into disarray". The Times of Israel.
  2. ^ Isabel Kershner (18 March 2015). "Deep Wounds and Lingering Questions After Israel's Bitter Race". The New York Times. p. A1. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Raoul Wootliff (1 August 2019). "Top Arab MK says open to 'joining' Gantz". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
  4. ^ Grigat, Stephan (2 March 2019). "Wahlkampf in Israel – ein Überblick". haGalil (in German). Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  5. ^ Aaron Boxerman (25 March 2021). "How Islamist Ra'am broke Arab politics and may win the keys to the government". Times of Israel. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
  6. ^ Sharon Weinblum (2015). Security and Defensive Democracy in Israel: A Critical Approach to Political Discourse. Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-317-58450-6.
  7. ^ Carol Migdalovitz (18 May 2006). "Israel: Background and Relations with the United States" (PDF). CRS Issue Brief for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  8. ^ Föderl-Schmid, Alexandra (3 April 2019). "Ein Land, zwei Welten". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  9. ^ Schmid, Ulrich; al-Hiran, Umm (31 January 2017). "Verpasste Chancen im Land der Beduinen". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Israel Election Results: Arab Leaders Herald High Turnout as Victory Over Netanyahu". Haaretz. 18 September 2019.
  11. ^ "הציונות הדתית בראשות בצלאל סמוטריץ'". Central Election Committee for the Knesset (in Hebrew). Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  12. ^ a b Staff writer; Aaron Boxerman (28 January 2021). "Knesset panel approves Joint List's breakup after talks with Ra'am faction fail". The Times of Israel.
  13. ^ "Arab-led Joint List splits into 2 factions, shuffling political deck at last minute". The Times of Israel.
  14. ^ Arab sector turnout for recent elections reached 63.5%, polling data shows The Jerusalem Post, 24 March 2015
  15. ^ Hassan Shaalan (21 February 2019). "Hadash and Ta'al Arab Parties join forces ahead of elections". ynet.
  16. ^ Adam Rasgon (29 July 2019). "Nationalist Balad party announces it will run on Joint List in autumn elections". The Times of Israel.
  17. ^ Staff writer (19 September 2019). "Final votes being tallied with Likud, Blue and White still neck-and-neck". The Times of Israel.
  18. ^ Staff writer (5 March 2020). "Final Election Results: Netanyahu Bloc Short of Majority With 58 Seats". Haaretz.
  19. ^ Christa Case Bryant (11 March 2015). "Israel elections 101: On eve of vote, momentum on Arab street (+video)". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  20. ^ "Israel election updates / Likud: Livni wrong on Congress' Iran sanctions". Haaretz. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  21. ^ a b Lazar Berman (22 January 2015). "Arab parties finalize unity deal". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  22. ^ a b c Hazboun, Areej; Estrin, Daniel (28 January 2015). "As Arab MKs unite, a new political landscape emerges". Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  23. ^ Elhanan Miller (4 March 2015). "After uniting Arabs behind him, Ayman Odeh looks to lead opposition". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  24. ^ "With united front, Israeli Arab parties seek more clout". Ynetnews. AFP. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  25. ^ Hassan Shaalan (22 January 2015). "Arab parties to run as one list in upcoming elections". Ynetnews. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  26. ^ Gil Hoffman; Lahav Harkov (22 September 2019). "Joint List endorses Gantz without Balad, giving Netanyahu majority". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  27. ^ a b Holmes, Oliver (23 September 2019). "Boost for Netanyahu as three Arab politicians refuse to back rival". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  28. ^ Gil Hoffman (15 March 2020). "Joint List endorses Gantz to form government". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 15 March 2020.
  29. ^ Amit Segal (3 February 2021). "הרשימה המשותפת מתפרקת: רע"מ תרוץ לבד בבחירות הקרובות". News 12. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  30. ^ Gil Hoffman (16 March 2021). "Moderate Arab party quits election". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  31. ^ Jodi Rudoren (24 January 2015). "Diverse Israeli Arab Political Factions Join Forces to Keep Place in Parliament". The New York Times. p. A4. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  32. ^ Ruth Eglash (10 March 2015). "Israel's Arab political parties have united for the first time". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  33. ^ Karin Laub (4 March 2015). "Rise of pragmatic Arab politician shakes up Israeli politics". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  34. ^ Jodi Rudoren; Diaa Hadid (19 March 2015). "Arab Alliance in Israeli Legislature Sees Unity as Vehicle for Progress". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  35. ^ Ilan Lior (5 March 2015). "Zionist Union, Meretz may revoke their surplus-vote accord and sign with other parties". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  36. ^ Gideon Allon (13 March 2015). "'Meretz won't be in any coalition with Yisrael Beytenu'". Israel Hayom. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  37. ^ Ariel Ben Solomon (12 March 2015). "Zoabi denies 'Post' report she is willing to recommend Herzog form government". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  38. ^ Jack Khoury (8 March 2015). "The left is not doing Israeli Arabs any favors". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  39. ^ Nahum Barnea (13 March 2015). "Netanyahu, tragic hero of 2015 elections". Ynetnews.
  40. ^ Yarden Skop (9 March 2015). "Meretz slams Arab Joint List over failed votes accord". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  41. ^ Ilan Lior (20 March 2015). "Ire over left-wing parties' surplus vote fiasco was all for nothing". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  42. ^ "תוצאות האמת של הבחירות לכנסת ה-20" [Actual results of the 20th Knesset elections] (in Hebrew). Central Election Commission. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  43. ^ "Israeli Arabs say they feel more excluded after election". Associated Press. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  44. ^ Jonathan Beck (29 March 2015). "Arab MKs drop bid for Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  45. ^ Rasgon, Adam. "Headed for 15 seats, Joint List chief claims 'huge' success, cites Jewish voters". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  46. ^ "A growing number of Jews are voting for Arabs in Israel". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  47. ^ "After Israel's elections, Arab parties at crossroads – analysis". The Jerusalem Post. 31 March 2021.
  48. ^ "Israeli Communists Boycott Zelensky Address to Knesset". Israel Hayom. 22 March 2021.
  49. ^ "On Ukraine, Israel's Anti-occupation Left Is a Shameful Failure". Haaretz. Retrieved 10 March 2022.

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