|Founded||23 January 2015|
Israeli Arab interests|
United Arab List
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The Joint List (Hebrew: הַרְשִׁימָה הַמְשׁוּתֶּפֶת, HaReshima HaMeshutefet; Arabic: القائمة المشتركة, al-Qa'imah al-Mushtarakah) is a political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel — Hadash, the United Arab List, Balad, and Ta'al. They are the third largest faction in the 20th Knesset.
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.
The agreement between the parties was signed on 22 January, marking the first time the major Arab parties had run as a single list. 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, 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.
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 twelfth to fourteenth places were subject to rotation agreements between the parties. Lawyer Osama Saadi of Ta'al will be the first to hold the 12th seat if the alliance wins enough seats.
Politics and ideology
The list is ideologically diverse and includes communists, socialists, feminists, Islamists, and Palestinian nationalists. After having united parties with various political agendas, Odeh met with Jewish Hadash activists, including former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, in an attempt to allay concerns that the new alliance would dilute the party's principles, such as gender equality.
The list is not united in terms of support for Jewish–Arab cooperation, 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. 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. According to Nahum Barnea, most of the list, including Jamal Zahalka of Balad, supported the agreement, but Qatar, which reportedly funds Balad's coffers, sided with the extremist elements within Balad and had the party come out against it. 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. A post-election analysis showed that neither the actual nor proposed agreements between these left-of-center parties would have made a difference to the final result.
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. 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.
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.
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- Balad, United Arab List, and Ta'al
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