An Israeli Arab stands behind a voting booth before casting her ballot at a polling station in the northern town of Umm el-Fahm March 17, 2015. Millions of Israelis turned out to vote on Tuesday in a tightly-fought election, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing an uphill battle to defeat a .
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
Some 46% of Israeli-Arab voters are dissatisfied by the performance of the Joint List during the current Knesset term, according to a Midgam survey published by Yediot Aharonot on Thursday.
Only 42% said they were satisfied by the Joint List alliance, which currently holds 13 seats in the Knesset and is estimated to have received 82% of all Israeli-Arab votes in the 2015 general election.
The poll, carried out over the last three days, further revealed that 52% of respondents believe that the Joint List does not represent them or hardly represents them as Israeli-Arabs, with 44% stating that it does indeed represent them well.
Notably, 47% of respondents said MK Ahmad Tibi – who withdrew his Ta’al (Arab Movement for Change) Party from the Joint List on Tuesday – should lead the faction. Only 20% expressed support for incumbent leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash).
After declaring that his party will run independently in April’s elections, Tibi told The Jerusalem Post that he would not be willing to join a coalition and become the first Arab minister from an Arab party – even if the next government was formed by a Center-Left party and not Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.
The Ta’al Party is currently expected to receive 43% of the Israeli-Arab votes, compared to only 38% of votes for the Joint List – now made up of an alliance between Odeh’s Hadash, the United Arab List and Balad.
“There is no doubt that these are surprising results which are likely to change the public agenda in Israel’s Arab society,” Ihab Kadah, manager of Midgam’s Arab department, told Yediot Aharonot.
The withdrawal of Ta’al from the Joint List came only days after controversial Joint List MK Haneen Zoabi, Balad MK Jamal Zahalka and United Arab List MK Masud Gnaim confirmed that they will not run in the upcoming elections. Similarly, the Joint List faction’s only Jewish lawmaker, Dov Henin, announced he will not be running either. Henin has served in the Knesset as a member of the Hadash Party for 13 years.
Prior to the split, 67% of Israeli-Arabs said they would vote for the Joint List headed by Odeh, 5% would vote for Meretz, 4% for the Likud and only 3% for Labor.
Gil Hoffman and Alon Einhorn contributed to this article.
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