Israel's Arab parties unite to make gains in upcoming vote

JERUSALEM — Israel's four Arab political parties have announced a merger ahead of September elections, hoping to boost turnout among the minority, which makes up a fifth of Israel's population.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash party, said Monday that now that the parties have reunited as Joint List, they can address the "great challenge" facing the country's Arab minority.

The four factions first united in 2015, earning 13 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. But infighting later split the Joint List into two parties, which only won a combined 10 seats amid low Arab turnout in April's election.

Israel faces an unprecedented repeat election in September after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a majority coalition government.

Israel's Arab citizens largely identify with the Palestinians and have long complained of discrimination.

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