Arab parties set for largest-ever representation in Israeli parliament

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Israel’s Arab parties looked poised on Tuesday for their largest-ever representation in parliament.

The Joint List coalition of Arab factions looked set to take 15 of parliament’s 120 seats with more than 90 percent of the vote counted, a two-seat boost for representatives of the 21 percent Arab minority.

Arab voter turnout surged to 64.7 percent, its highest in 20 years, according to Arik Rudnitzky, a researcher with the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI).

Politicians and analysts said the strong showing helped limit gains by Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party and its partners, which appeared to fall just short of a governing majority after Monday’s vote.

“The Netanyahu regime does not have 61 (seats) for one reason: the ascendance of the Joint List,” the coalition’s leader, Ayman Odeh, said in the Arab city of Shefaram to cheering supporters, who snapped selfies with politicians late into election night.

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