After failing to gain widespread support among Israel’s Arab voters, the party calling itself Ma’an (Together, in Arabic) dropped out on Tuesday, March 16, of next week’s general elections for the 24th Knesset and urged its supporters to cast their votes for the Joint List alliance this coming Tuesday, March 23.
“We are not going to recklessly burn the votes of thousands of Arab citizens,” Ma’an leader Ahmad Darawsheh told Al-Ittihad on Tuesday. Darawsheh was making reference to the electoral threshold of 3.25% of all counted valid ballots which any party or list must win in order to enter the Knesset, in which case it gains its first four parliamentary seats, in the 120-member unicameral proportional legislature.
In last year’s election for the 23rd Knesset, for example, the 3.25% threshold amounted to approximately 149,000 votes, meaning that any party or list that gained fewer votes remained outside the Knesset. As voter surveys before the election predicted that Ma’an would not reach the electoral threshold, that party saw the imperative of “not burning” the votes of the citizens who supported or otherwise considered voting for their party.
After his announcement that Ma’an would not compete in the upcoming election, Darawsheh called for his party’s supporters to vote for the Joint List. In making reference to the decision of Ra’am (the United Arab List) to break away from the Joint List and run independently, Darawshef said, “MK Mansour Abbas’s remarks about attempting to influence decision-making in Israeli politics are something we can get behind. However, his willingness to work with the right-wing parties, his lack of principles or backbone — this is not acceptable. We need dignity, and that is not something we see in Abbas’s discourse,” Darawsheh said.