A new poll of Israeli Arab-Palestinian citizens published in the Friday, February 20 weekend edition of Haaretz predicts that, if the upcoming elections were held now, the Joint List would win 14 seats in the Knesset. The poll reveals that voter turnout among Arabs citizens is likely to rise from 56% in 2013 to 62.4% in the March 17 contest. Of the the respondents to the poll conducted by the Statnet research institute, 58% said that the decision of Hadash and the Arab parties to run as a joint ticket was the most important factor in determining for whom they will vote.
The Haaretz poll also found that more than 60% of the Arab citizens of Israel would like to see the Joint List in the next government’s coalition. Only about half of those indicating this preference conditioned it on the government’s being formed by the chairman of the Zionist Union, Isaac Herzog.
Dr. Yousef Jabareen, No. 10 on the Joint List, told Haaretz that the problem is not whether the list would be prepared to join the coalition, but rather that the Zionist parties have historically excluded Hadash and the Arab parties when forming a coalition. “Everyone recalls that Ehud Barak got overwhelming support from Arab voters in the  prime ministerial race, but afterwards refused to even conduct negotiations with Hadash and the Arab parties,” he noted. “It seems to me that, in light of the current political situation, sitting in the government is not an option,” Jabareen remarked. “That’s also our electorate’s position.”
“The Arab public will oppose any government that continues the occupation and the policy of discrimination,” Jabareen added. “That’s the reason for our sweeping opposition to a government headed by [Benjamin] Netanyahu; and Herzog’s positions as of now are also very far from constituting a basis for the Joint List’s entry into the government.”
The Haaretz poll also revealed that 70% of Israel’s Arab citizens care much more about improving their socioeconomic status than about solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Not surprisingly, the poll found that an overwhelming majority of Arab voters – 344,000 – plan to vote for the Joint List, compared with 29,000 for the Zionist Union, 29,000 for Meretz, 12,000 for the Likud, 9,000 for Yisrael Beiteinu, and 4,000 for Habayit Hayehudi. These 344,000 voters translate into 12.4 Knesset seats. However, adding to this figure the undecided Arab voters, plus Jewish voters backing the Joint List, could get the ticket as many as 14 seats.