Photo Credit: Jamal Awad/Flash90
Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas casts his vote. Nov. 1, 2022

Arab residents of Tamra, an Arab city in the North of Israel situated in the Lower Galilee, are complaining on Election Day that the leaders of the respective Arab parties failed their community because they allowed internal squabbling to cause the breakup of the united Arab party that was called simply the “Joint List.”

Tamra is considered to be a center of support for Ra’am and the party’s leader Mansour Abbas.


The people there are blaming Arab politicians Ahmad Tibi and Ayman Odeh causing the breakup of the Joint List.

In an effort to get out the vote and avoid an expected drop in Arab representation in the Knesset, the Arab parties are out in the streets calling on people to go and vote.

One car is going through the town’s streets shouting to the residents, “The Jews are flocking to the polls…” It may be working, as by midday there was a reported increase in Arab voting compared to previous elections.

To put all of this into perspective, the Joint List won 15 seats in the Knesset in the elections of March 2020, when it included 5 parties – Balad, Hadash, Ta’al, Mada and Ra’am.

But in the last Knesset elections held in March 2021, the list splintered and ended up with only 6 seats while Ra’am ran separately gaining 4 seats in the Knesset – just 10 in total between them for a loss of one third of their representation. Arab voter turnout that year was also low.

And this year there are 3 different Arab parties seeking seats in the Knesset: Ra’am, Balad and a joint list of Hadash-Ta’al and no joint list at all. And Balad is polling below the 3.25% of the vote minimum threshold to get into the Knesset. The polls currently show Arab representation in the Knesset plummeting to just 8 seats in total between 2 parties.

Political observers in Israel say that a low Arab turnout will benefit the right-wing block led by Benjamin Netanyahu.

This explains why there may be a sense of desperation among the Arab parties.

A Ra’am activist in Tamra is still optimistic, however. Attorney Zoabi Nasra Al Din told TPS that he expects a higher turnout among Israeli Arabs and is not so sure that Balad will fail to pass the minimum threshold, thereby giving the Arab parties at least 12 seats in the Knesset.

And there is precedent for this. In 2021 several parties, including Ra’am and the left-wing Meretz party did not poll above the threshold and made it into the Knesset anyway. And a few other parties ended up with several more seats than were expected.

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Baruch reports on Arab affairs for TPS.