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Palestinian citizens in Israel expect to get 15 seats in Knesset

Israel's Palestinian citizens are expecting to expand their number of seats in the next Israeli Knesset due in part to their united position in the Arab Joint List.

Palestinian citizens in Israel expect to see an increase in their number of Knesset seats in the third election cycle in less than one year in Israel. Days before the window is set to close for submitting election lists, due Jan. 17, polls show it is possible the Joint List — a unified slate of predominantly Arab parties — could garner as many as 15 members in the March 2 elections, a whopping 50% improvement over the results of the April 2019 elections when the Joint List was split and only able to reach 10 seats. When Arabs united in the September 2019 elections, they gained 13 seats.

Botrus Mansour, a Nazareth-based lawyer and an astute observer of Arab voting trends in Israel, told Al-Monitor the Joint List will improve because of its stability, lack of internal squabble this time around and proven ability to influence politics in Israel. He said, “For years, Palestinian citizens of Israel felt their representatives in the Knesset had no influence. But when Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, recommended to President Reuven Rivlin that Knesset member Benny Gantz become prime minister, this drove home to many that Arabs can, in fact, have influence.” Mansour’s comment reflects the fact that previously, Arab members of the Knesset had not nominated anyone for prime minister.

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