Netanyahu Crows Victory as Joint List Surges

A 65% voting turnout from Israel’s Arab minority bumped the four major Arab-led parties from 10 seats in April 2019 to 15 seats in Monday’s election

Shahar Ilan 15:0704.03.20

As the last votes cast for Israel’s 23rd election are counted, it is still unclear whether this round, the country’s third general election in under a year, will deliver it from political limbo. One clear shift in the political map, however, is the rise of the Joint List, which includes the four major Arab-led parties—socialist Arab-Jewish party Hadash, Muslim religious party Ra’am, and secular left wing-parties Balad and Ta’al. With 15 parliament seats as of Wednesday morning, it has emerged once again as Israel’s third-largest party, tailing ruling Likud party (36) and centrist contender Blue and White (33).


Arabs with Israeli citizenship make up 21% of Israel’s population and approximately 16% of those eligible to vote. Traditionally, many Arabs refrained from participating in Israel’s general elections, but recent years saw increased political involvement among this often marginalized sector.

A citizen voting. Photo: Shutterstock A citizen voting. Photo: Shutterstock


In the April 2019 election, Arab-led political parties managed to garner just 10 seats, down from 13 seats in 2015, following a voting rate of just 49% in towns with an Arab majority, compared to 67.9% among the general population. In the September 2019 election, the voting rate in predominantly Arab towns climbed to 59%, netting the Joint List 13 seats. Monday’s election saw a turnout of 65%, resulting in two additional seats.