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Israeli center-left reaches out to Arab voters

Seeking support from the Arab electorate at the upcoming March elections, the parties of the Israeli left and center are suddenly adding Arab candidates to their Knesset lists.
An Arab Israeli woman casts her vote during Israel's parliamentary elections on April 9, 2019 at a polling station in the northern Israeli town of Taiyiba. - Israelis voted today in a high-stakes election that will decide whether to extend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's long right-wing tenure despite corruption allegations or to replace him with an ex-military chief new to politics. (Photo by Ahmad GHARABLI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

“No more, it’s over," Meretz chair Nitzan Horowitz declared, naming activist Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi from Nazareth to the fourth place on the party’s candidate list and former Knesset member Esawi Frej to the fifth. "Meretz is implementing change: Two leading Arab society candidates in the top five slots.”

His motion was approved Jan. 4 in an online session by 80% of the members of the party’s top decision-making body, making Meretz Israel’s only Zionist party with Arab representation at the top. The move was nothing short of amazing, given that just months ago, the party sidelined Frej, its only Arab Knesset member at the time, moving him to 11th place, an unrealistic spot on the combined Labor-Meretz-Gesher slate that ran in the March 2020 elections.

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