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August 28, 2022 4:50 pm

Survey: Record Low Arab Turnout Expected in Upcoming Israeli Elections, Some Arab Support for Likud

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

An Israeli-Arab woman walks out from behind a voting booth as Israelis vote in a parliamentary election, at a polling station in Umm al-Fahm, Israel April 9, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad.

Turnout from Israel’s Arab minority is expected to hit record lows in the country’s upcoming general elections, according to a new survey released Sunday by Israeli media.

The poll, carried out by the Stat-Net research institute and published by Israel’s Makan 33 Arabic-language channel and Kan News, focused on the Arab sector ahead of November, when Israelis will head to polls for the fifth time in less than four years. It found that the Arab voting rate in the elections is expected to be a historic low of 39 percent.

In comparison, Arab voter turnout in the March 2021 elections stood at 44.6 percent, while in March 2020 it reached a peak of 64.8 percent, with voters catapulting the Joint List — an alliance of Arab-majority parties — to 15 seats in the Knesset.

When asked in the same survey who they would vote for if elections were held presently, Arab voters gave five mandates to the Joint List if it includes the Arab party Balad, as well as four mandates to the Islamist party Ra’am, and a mandate and a half to Likud, the right-wing party led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a slate where Balad was split from the Joint List, the latter received only four mandates, while Balad failed to cross the electoral threshold for entry into the next Knesset.

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Commenting on the votes in favor of Likud, Suleiman Masouda, Kan‘s Jerusalem affairs reporter, noted that a mandate and a half is “a very significant figure.” When Arab respondents were asked why they would vote for Netanyahu, they explained that during his tenure, “we paid less, we spent less money on goods,” said Masouda. Those voters are not satisfied with the economic performance of the current coalition, he said.

“A more interesting figure,” Masouda added, “and this is to the attention of Balad and [its leader] Sami Abu Shehadeh — if they run alone, it’s possible that in the near elections we won’t see any Arab party in the Knesset.”

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