The three Arab lists in the Knesset are expected to run together in response to a raised election threshold. Asked about self-identity, the majority consider themselves Arab, but a growing and significant minority call themselves Palestinian.
Nearly 70 percent of Arabs citizens of Israel intend to vote if the three existing Arab parties run on a joint list, compared to 56 percent who voted in the 2013 elections, a new +972 poll found. But the call to boycott the elections holds powerful sway. A majority of 54 percent says that if there are such calls to boycott the elections, they will decide not to vote, leaving only 46 percent at present who are committed to voting despite such calls.
As the wave of speculation about unification of the three Arab lists swells, there is a flurry of concern about low voter turnout in the Arab community. Since the boycott against elections in 2001 when fewer than 20 percent voted, recent cycles have seen just half of Arab voters participating. The newly raised electoral threshold means that any one Arab party might not be represented in the Knesset, unless they run together.
There has been a presumption that Arab voters are fed up with party politics and ego games just as much as Jewish voters, and that for Arabs, uniting would give people a boost of faith in their representatives’ willingness to put personal interest aside, to better represent the people.
And sure enough, by contrast to other indications that still only half of Arab voters will participate based on the current lists, we found the following:
• When asked “if the parties unite into one list, what are the chances that you will participate in voting?” 68 percent of Arab respondents said they would “definitely” vote, the closest indicator of actual intentions.
• One-third (32 percent) in total responded “possibly,” “there’s a 50-50 chance,” or “I won’t vote.”
Yet against this new finding, the threat of calls to boycott still lurks. Respondents to this survey were very mindful of the possible call to boycott. We asked:
“If leaders in the Arab community call to boycott and not participate in the elections, will you vote despite that, or will you decide not to vote?”
• A high portion, 40 percent,...Read More