Joint List

The Joint List
Leader Ayman Odeh
Founded 23 January 2015 (2015-01-23)
Headquarters Nazareth, Israel[1]
Ideology Israeli Arab interests
Big tent
Two State Solution
Political position syncretic
Member parties Balad
United Arab List
Colors Turquoise
13 / 120
Election symbol

The Joint List (Hebrew: הרשימה המשותפת, 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.[3] They are the third largest faction in the 20th Knesset.


Ayman Odeh and Shady Haliya
The Joint List at the consultations process at President Reuven Rivlin's official resident, after 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.[4]

The agreement between the parties was signed on 22 January,[5] marking the first time the major Arab parties had run as a single list.[6] 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,[5] 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.[7][8]

The alliance's list for the 2015 elections is headed by Ayman Odeh, the newly elected leader of Hadash, followed by Masud Ghnaim (Islamic Movement), 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 are subject to rotation agreements between the parties.[9] Lawyer Osama Saadi of Ta'al will be the first to hold the 12th seat if the alliance wins enough seats.[10]

Politics and ideology

The list is ideologically diverse and includes communists, socialists, feminists, Islamists, and Palestinian nationalists.[11][12][6] 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.[13]

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.[6][14]

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.[15] 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.[16][17][18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

2015 election

With most of the votes counted, Joint List received 13 seats in the Israeli legislative election, 2015 with 10.55% of the total vote, becoming the third-largest party in the 20th Knesset.[22] Odeh intends for his party to work on shared issues with center-left Jewish opposition parties and seek membership in key parliamentary committees.[23]

One of the party's first orders of business after the election 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.[24]

Election Votes % Seats ±
2015 446,583 10.61
13 / 120
Increase 2a

a: Compared to the combined total of Hadash, Balad and United Arab List in 2013.


  1. 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.
  2. "הרשימה המשותפת (חד"ש, רע"מ, בל"ד, תע"ל)" [Joint list (Hadash, United Arab List, Balad, Taal)] (in Hebrew). Knesset Elections Committee. 17 March 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  3. "Arab Parties to Run Together as "The Joint List". The Times of Israel. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  4. 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.
  5. 1 2 Lazar Berman (22 January 2015). "Arab parties finalize unity deal". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 Hazboun, Areej; Estrin, Daniel (28 January 2015). "As Arab MKs unite, a new political landscape emerges". Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. Elhanan Miller (4 March 2015). "After uniting Arabs behind him, Ayman Odeh looks to lead opposition". Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  8. "With united front, Israeli Arab parties seek more clout". Ynetnews. AFP. 2 March 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  9. Hassan Shaalan (22 January 2015). "Arab parties to run as one list in upcoming elections". Ynetnews. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  10. Ariel Ben Solomon (27 January 2015). "Tibi's Ta'al party picks lawyer for second slot". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 27 January 2015.
  11. 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.
  12. Ruth Eglash (10 March 2015). "Israel's Arab political parties have united for the first time". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  13. Karin Laub (4 March 2015). "Rise of pragmatic Arab politician shakes up Israeli politics". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  14. 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.
  15. Ilan Lior (5 March 2015). "Zionist Union, Meretz may revoke their surplus-vote accord and sign with other parties". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  16. Gideon Allon (13 March 2015). "'Meretz won't be in any coalition with Yisrael Beytenu'". Israel Hayom. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  17. 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.
  18. Jack Khoury (8 March 2015). "The left is not doing Israeli Arabs any favors". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  19. Nahum Barnea (13 March 2015). "Netanyahu, tragic hero of 2015 elections". Ynetnews.
  20. Yarden Skop (9 March 2015). "Meretz slams Arab Joint List over failed votes accord". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  21. Ilan Lior (20 March 2015). "Ire over left-wing parties' surplus vote fiasco was all for nothing". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  22. "תוצאות האמת של הבחירות לכנסת ה-20" [Actual results of the 20th Knesset elections] (in Hebrew). Central Election Commission. Retrieved 2015-03-19.
  23. "Israeli Arabs say they feel more excluded after election". Associated Press. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  24. Jonathan Beck (29 March 2015). "Arab MKs drop bid for Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
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