Joint List Slams Withdrawn Party-Funding Bill as Racist Legislation

Knesset members from the Joint List expressed satisfaction on Monday, June 11, following the withdrawal of a proposed amendment brought before the Knesset Interior Committee that would have reduced public funding for multiple parties that run together for the Knesset.

The amendment, proposed by the chairman of the committee, MK Yoav Kisch (Likud), and purposely slipped in by him at the last moment in the context of discussions on party funding legislation, would have allocated the same amount of public funding to lists composed of three or more parties to the sum given to lists of only two parties. Kisch was specifically aiming to undermine the Joint List, which is the only faction in the Knesset currently made up of more than two parties, with four: Hadash, Balad, the United Arab List and Ta’al. However, following intense protests by members of the committee (including those from right-wing parties who see it as endangering any future united front of their own), MK Kisch withdrew his proposal.

"The Joint List" in Arabic and Hebrew

“The Joint List” in Arabic and Hebrew

Hadash MKs slammed the bill during the committee meeting as “racist legislation.” Joint List head Ayman Odeh (Hadash) noted that the reason the four parties united in the first place before the March 2015 general elections was the passage in the previous Knesset of a law sponsored by far-right Israel Beytenu leader Avigdor Lieberman that raised the electoral threshold to 3.25%. Had the four parties not run together as the Joint List, there was a very real possibility that none of them would be represented in the 20th Knesset. However, running together, the Joint List became the third largest parliamentary bloc with 13 elected MKs.

Odeh quipped that, just as Lieberman’s law resulted in there being more Arab and Communist MKs in the current Knesset, Kisch’s foiled attempt at undermining the Joint List would only strengthen the Arabs and Communists in their resolve to perpetuate the bloc. “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.”