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Israel: Joint List facing possible collapse

Head of the Joint List, a combined slate of Arab parties Ayman Odeh speaks during his election campaign in Tel Aviv, Israel on February 18, 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]
Head of the Joint List, a combined slate of Arab parties Ayman Odeh speaks during his election campaign in Tel Aviv, Israel on February 18, 2020. [Mostafa Alkharouf - Anadolu Agency]

The Joint List, a coalition of Arab parties in Israel's Knesset, lacks vision regarding its services to the Arab community, head of the Ra'am faction has said.

Speaking to the Times of Israel, MK Mansour Abbas warned: "If the Joint List repeats the same mistakes, the same positions that offer no vision for the Arab community, it abandons the rationale for its existence."

This came days after Abbas came under criticism by member of the Arab parties after reports that he had formed a political alliance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party.

Joint List members said Abbas' efforts were "begging" and reiterated that Netanyahu is a "liar".

Earlier this month, Netanyahu attended a meeting of a Knesset committee formed to contain crime in Israel's Arab sector at Mansour's invitation. Netanyahu's arrival underscored the disputes between the various Arab Knesset factions, Israel Hayom reported at the time.

Commenting on Abbas' remarks, Balad's chairman MK Mtanes Shihadeh was reported by the Times of Israel as saying: "It's no surprise that MK Mansour Abbas chose the mouthpiece of Netanyahu and the extreme right to announce his retirement from the Joint List."

He added: "That's the most authentic way to serve Bibi [Netanyahu]… MK Abbas isn't worthy of leadership. We'll take it from here."

An internal assessment by the Joint List showed that dissolving the list and competing with two lists would result in a 45 per cent drop in the percentage of Arab community votes obtained, which would severely affect Arab representation in the Knesset.

Israel: Gantz faces pressure from his party to dissolve Knesset

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