Netanyahu-Lieberman Compromise Could Mean End of Israeli Arab MPs

'Reform' Bill Would Cut Small Parties Out

It isn’t quite as far as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wanted to go, but Israel’s new electoral reform law is still expected to mean the end of all Arab MPs in the Israeli Knesset.

The deal raises the vote threshold needed to get seats in the Knesset to 3.25% from 2%, meaning any faction with three seats or less would get no seats at all under the new system.

In the most recent election, this would oust Hadash and Balad, two parties with Arab MPs, as well as Kadima. The United Arab List had 3.65% this time, and so long as they could repeat this, they’d retain seats.

That appears to have been part of the argument for reform, with Lieberman pushing for a 4% threshold that would’ve covered UAL as well. This wasn’t sitting well with other smallish parties and they forced a compromise. Others argue that expelling the small parties is just about “stability.”

Israel has been trending this way for several elections, with the ruling parties trying to secure their own positions by cutting out smaller blocs entirely and dividing their seats.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.