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Israel Political Parties: Hadash

Hadash (Hebrew acronym for “The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality”) is an Israeli political party with roots in Communism largely supported by Israeli Arabs.

Hadash is a left-wing party that, when formed in March 1977, was rooted in Israel's Communist party, the Black Panthers, and other left-wing non-communist groups. Within the Hadash movement, Rakah (which was renamed Maki, a Hebrew acronym for Israeli Communist Party, in 1989) has retained an independent status. In its first electoral test, in the 1977 elections, Hadash won 5 seats in the Knesset, and it has been represented through every election since. In the 2009 election, Hadash won four seats. At different points in its history, Hadash has merged with Ahmed Tibi's Ta'al party and also Balad, both different Israeli Arab parties.

Hadash is a Jewish and Arab party, but has a mainly Arab electorate. The main points of its platform include the complete Israeli withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967, recognition of the PLO, the separation of religion and state, the Palestinian "right of return" to Israeli territory, lobbying for workers' rights, encouraging Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and full equality for Israel's Arab citizens.

In general, Hadash views conflicts within Israeli society as class-based rather than nationalistic in nature.

In the 2013 Knesset elections, Hadash won just over 3% of the popular vote and was awarded four seats in the Knesset.

Israel's major Arab political parties Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al signed an agreement on January 21, 2015, with the Arab-Jewish Hadash party and the Isamic Movement to run on a single ticket headed by Hadash leader Ayman Odeh.  The decision of the often fracticious parties to unite was prompted by the recent change in election law rising the threshhold for representation from 2 percent to 3.25 percent, which would make it difficult for the smaller individual parties to win seats.  Jointly, they have a chance to win more than 10 seats.  During the 19th Knesset they collectively held 12 seats. 

Sources: The Israel Project; The Knesset; Moment Magazine (January 2012); Wikipedia