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MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) visits the High School for the Sciences in Jaljulya on February 8, 2018 in the wake of a school shooting the day before.(Photo by: AHMED TIBI'S OFFICE)
Arab MKs angry at bill that could break up Joint List
“There is no reason to allow more than two parties to run on one list and trick the public.”
Knesset members from the Joint List expressed frustration on Monday with the advancement of a bill that would reduce public funding from parties that run together for the Knesset.

The bill, proposed by Knesset Interior Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud), would give joint lists of three or four parties the funding of only two.

The bill is specifically aimed at breaking up the Joint List, which is the only faction made up of more than two parties: the nationalist Balad, communist Hadash, religious Muslim United Arab List and MK Ahmed Tibi’s Ta’al.

“There is no reason to allow more than two parties to run on one list and trick the public,” Kisch said. “This amendment would cause parties to maintain their ideology and prevent them from forming grocery lists in which they stoop to the lowest common denominator between them.”

Kisch convened a stormy meeting of his committee to discuss the bill on Monday. It will only come to a vote after the committee has dealt with less controversial aspects of the legislation that have nothing to do with the Joint List.

“The Arabs must be coming in droves to Kisch’s nightmares,” Tibi said. “Your proposal is undemocratic and delusional.

My counter-proposal is to take party funding away from every ruling party whose leader adopts the ideology of a smaller party named Bayit Yehudi.”

Joint List head Ayman Odeh noted that the reason the four parties united was that Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman passed a bill in the last Knesset raising the electoral threshold to 3.25%. He said that just like Liberman’s bill resulted in there being more Arab MKs in the current Knesset, Kisch’s legislation would strengthen the Arabs as well.

“Kisch’s bill is a shameful attempt to weaken us and harm the Arab citizens who chose us to represent them,” Odeh said. “We have already proven to the Right that when they try to divide us, we only get stronger.”

The bill might end up not passing because it is opposed by all the parties in the opposition as well as United Torah Judaism. UTJ MK Yaakov Asher, who is on the committee, intends to vote against the bill, because his faction could end up uniting more than two parties in the future.
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