Arabs Still Divided On Electoral Unity

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

Arab parties may have made some progress toward a coalition that will enable them all to clear the new, higher electoral threshold for seats in the Knesset, but it’s not clear how much.

Balad head Jamal Zahalka told Army Radio that the Arab parties would run as a united bloc in the March 17 elections, though he fell short of actually predicting it.

“I hope that within a week or two we will decide to unite the Arab political parties,” Zahalka said.

Downplaying ideological differences, Zahalka said that “95% of the time we vote the same way,” referring to the three Arab parties, United Arab List-Ta’al, Hadash and Balad.

The new electoral threshold of 3.25% threatens to eliminate the small Arab parties as well as some Jewish parties, such as Kadima and Movement.

Hadash MK Dov Henin indicated that unity was more of a priority for Balad than for his party. He told Army Radio that poll numbers show Balad on its own would fail to make it into the Knesset, while Hadash would get five seats.

Meanwhile, the latest Knesset poll showed Labor-Movement pulling ahead of Likud by a margin of 23 to 21.

Jewish Home would be third, with 16 mandates; Yesh Atid rebounded somewhat, climbing up to 11; Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu got nine seats, ahead of Yisrael Beitenu’s seven. Meretz also took seven.

Regarding the chareidi parties, United Torah Judaism polled at seven, Shas got five, and Eli Yishai’s Yachad, four.