MK Ayman Odeh was reelected Friday, February 1, as the Chairman of Hadash’s parliamentary faction, part of the Joint List political alliance, towards the April 9 general elections for Israel’s Knesset. The Front’s council met in the northern city of Shfaram to confirm Odeh’s election, after the two other candidates for the position – Jafar Farah, head of the Mossawa Center and a political activist, and Dr. Shukri Awawdeh, deputy mayor of Nazareth Illit – dropped out of the race. Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality – Communist Party of Israel), is the only Jewish-Arab and socialist political movement in Israel.
In a statement he made following his reelection, Odeh said: “When everyone is talking about who is going to replace Netanyahu, I would like to ask, what are we going to replace him with? With which values? Citizens must ask themselves, are we heading towards democracy or towards apartheid?” “In the face of incitement, the ‘Nation-State’ law, racism, desperation, Hadash and the Joint List will lead values of peace, equality, democracy and justice,” he went on to say. “Those who want us fractured and separated, weak and in desperation, will get us stronger and united, with hope for change.” Odeh also said: “You can’t do without us. The Left without the Arab population is no Left. Only a broad democratic bloc is the true alternative to the rule of the fascist, extremist right-wing.”
MK Aida Touma-Sliman was elected for the second spot on the Hadash slate after Farah said he was rescinding his candidacy for that position. “The fascist right is delegitimizing us,” Touma-Sliman said. “They’ve said we’re traitors and incited against us, but even in rough times we’re not afraid of Netanyahu. We’re stronger than him, because we have behind us an entire public of both Arabs and Jews who want peace, justice, liberty and democracy.”
In the third and fourth places in the Hadash list of candidates were elected Dr. Ofer Cassif, a lecturer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and MK Youssef Jabareen respectively.
A poll conducted by Israel Hayom, and published on Friday reveals that former Lieutenant General Benny Gantz’s party might have a shot at bringing down the Likud party of far-right PM Benjamin Netanyahu. According to the poll, the Likud with Netanyahu at its head, would win 28 seats out of the 120-seat Knesset if the elections were held now, while Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party would take 19 seats, Odeh’s Joint List and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would come in tied with nine seats each.
The New Right party of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked and the ultra-orthodox United Torah Judaism would each win seven Knesset seats. Kulanu would win just five Knesset seats and the Labor Party, headed by Avi Gabbay, continues its decline and would win only five seats as well.
Orly Levy-Abekasis’ Gesher party would win just four seats, as would Meretz, Shas, and Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party, the first time that this last, neo-fascist party has passed the electoral threshold in a poll.
The poll finds that Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu, the Jewish Home-National Union, Otzma LeYisrael and the Ta’al faction headed by MK Ahmed Tibi would each garner enough votes for only three Knesset seats and therefore, not passing the electoral threshold of four seats, would not enter the Knesset. Similarly, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party and Eli Yishai’s Yahad party would win just one seat each, and therefore they too would send no representative to Israel’s 21st Knesset.