To the list of dispersing parties add the United Arab List. On Tuesday, Ahmed Tibi, chairperson of the Ta’al list, one of the three parties that united to form the UAL in the last election, declared that he was leaving to run Ta’al as a separate list. Maariv reported that Tibi had recruited several Arab politicians, including the former deputy mayors of Sakhnin and Nazareth, to join his list.
Sources in Ta’al told the newspaper that Tibi was quitting UAL over demands that the party hold an open primary for leadership of UAL – something that party chairperson Ayman Odeh has refused to do. “The refusal to change the formation of the party as it was established in 2013 left us no choice,” a party source was quoted as saying. “Ta’al will present a strong list and bring in new people. The only poll that counts is the one of public opinion in the election.”
In recent days, two veteran UAL politicians – announced that they were quitting politics. They were preceded by MK Dov Hanin, the only Jewish member of Arab party, who last week announced that he was quitting as well.
Speaking Wednesday to Yediot Acharonot, Odeh said that he hoped to lure Tibi back into the party. “I hope there will not be a split and that we can remain united, including Ahmed Tibi. This is a very important party, the third in size in the Knesset. It’s the first time Arabs have 13 MKs,” he said, adding that UAL was aiming for 15 MKs in the April election. “The only people who want us to split up are Binyamin Netanyahu and the far right,” he added.
Commenting on the Tibi decision, Yisrael Beytenu MK Robert Ilatuv said that Tibi was to be praised for his stance. “I wish him luck on his new path,” he said. “I hope that Tibi and his new list will successfully run for the parliament in Ramallah, where he really belongs, instead of in the Knesset.”