Jan. 11, 2019
- Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi Changes the Israeli-Arab Political Landscape – Shlomi Eldar
Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi has broken away from the Joint List, an alliance of four Israeli Arab political parties that had united on the eve of the 2015 elections: Hadash, Ra’am, Balad and Ta’al. Tibi’s decision followed failed attempts to obtain “fitting representation” for his Ta’al party within the Joint List.
In 2015, the head of the largest of the four parties – Hadash, formerly Communists – was designated to lead the Joint List and promised five slots on the Knesset candidates list. Second place and three slots went to the representative of the Islamic movement Ra’am. Balad received three slots, while Tibi’s party received two.
Asad Ghanem, a senior political science lecturer at Haifa University, believes Tibi stands a good chance of winning enough votes to cross the electoral threshold and strip away at least half of the Joint List’s current 13 seats. Tibi has the backing of many local Arab council heads and mayors. He has toured Arab communities throughout Israel and mobilized support among young people on issues of paramount importance to them.
Tibi, who was for years perceived as being exclusively focused on issues pertaining to the Palestinian Authority, has worked diligently to change this image. He may have realized that the people want him to represent them and resolve their problems more than to represent the Palestinians living in the West Bank. From a platform focused on the establishment of a Palestinian state, Ta’al is turning into a social-democratic movement focused on socio-economic matters that dominate the Israeli-Arab priority list. (Al-Monitor)