MK Odeh: Only Arab Voters Can Curb Rise of Extreme Right

MK Ayman Odeh, the head of the Hadash-Ta’al alliance, predicted his faction would be a major juggernaut in post-election coalition jockeying, after the Joint List splintered into two separate slates Thursday night.

Hadash and Ta’al submits on Thursday night candidates for Knesset ahead of November ballot (Photo: Central Election Committee)

The fracturing of the Joint List would appear to benefit Netanyahu by diluting the influence of his most strident opponents. The split is widely predicted to help ease Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s path back to power, with Balad predicted to fall well below the necessary 3.25% ballot threshold to enter the Knesset.

“We will be the most important party the day after elections,” Odeh told the press on Friday and Saturday. “Everyone will come to us and we’ll make them wait in line until they respect us and our constituency.”

According to a leading Communist Party of Israel member, Raja Za’atry, a Haifa city council member, said hesitation to vote is based on a belief that government policies are stacked against Arab citizens, no matter what party holds power. “Right-wing policies continued even without Netanyahu. The problem is that people don’t see a difference between governments and concluded that even if Hadash of an Arab party is in the government, it can’t change big things,” said. “I’m not saying [Prime Minister] Lapid is so good, but there is still a big difference between Meretz,” the Zionist left-wing party whose leader, Zehava Galon, has traditionally opposed discrimination and the occupation in the West Bank, “and [racist MK Itamar] Ben-Gvir.”