Arab-Israeli parliamentarian Yousef Jabareen.

Arab-Israeli Parties Hope to Get Masses to Polls to Shake Up Political Arena (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

The Arab-Israeli political scene is undergoing a major shake-up, with long-time legislator Ahmad Tibi withdrawing his party from the Joint List in order to lead his own party.

The Joint List, which was composed of Balad, Hadash, Ta’al and Ra’am (United Arab List), was created ahead of the last national elections after the electoral threshold was raised to 3.25 percent, an increase that might have prevented smaller parties from entering parliament. The alliance won 13 mandates in 2015, making it the third-largest party in the most recent legislature behind Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud (30 seats) and the Zionist Union (24 seats), which was forged between the Labor party and now-defunct Hatnua .

In between flare-ups over the peace process, Arab-Israeli parliamentarians ostensibly work to improve the living standards of their minority constituency, comprising about 1.8 million citizens or just over 20 percent of the total population.

The Media Line spoke to lawmaker Yousef Jabareen about the goals of his Hadash-Ta’al party and how it is attempting to overcome what many view as discriminatory practices by the government.

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