The three Arab parties: Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad are expected to announce today a merger that would see them run together in the upcoming election under the name “The United List”.
Because the electoral threshold was raised by the last Knesset from 2% to 3.25%, the Arab parties were widely expected to merge, although infighting put the merger in doubt in recent weeks.
There still is an issue of which party will occupy the last couple of realistic spots. Specifically, there seems to be a battle between Ahmed Tibi and the Islamic movement (who ironically, both sit together in Ra’am-Ta’al) as to the identity of the 12th man on the list.
While Arab parties traditionally don’t join any coalition, to say that they are irrelevant is a fallacy. The United List may support Herzog from outside of a coalition in exchange for a say in the budget and other financial considerations.
Yitzhak Rabin’s 1992 government relied on outside support from Arab parties after Shas left that coalition.
Surveys show that 68% of Arabs plan on voting if there is a united party as opposed to 58% if there isn’t. This could swing enough seats to the Left in order to win the chance to form the next government.Source (Hebrew): http://www.haaretz.co.il/news/elections/1.2545750