Israeli Political Parties:
The United Arab List (Hebrew: מאוחדת ערבית רשימה; Arabic: ألقائمة العربية الموحدة ) is an Israeli political party represented and supported by Israeli Arabs and enjoys particular popularity among the Bedouin population.
Also known as Ra'am (the transliteration of the Hebrew acronym), the party was formed prior to the 1996 general elections as a coalition of the Bedouin-based Arab National Democratic Party and the Islamic Movement. Its platforms holds the following: Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the creation of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital and the dismantlement of all Israeli settlements; the “Right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees and their descendants; separation of religion and state; that Arabs should not be recruited to serve in the Israel Defense Forces (Israeli Arabs are currently exempt from compulsory military service); and, an increase in the budget for subsidizing all holy places belonging to the Muslims, Christians and Druze.
In that election, the United Arab List won 89,514 votes - a total of 3% - and was awarded four seats in the 14th Knesset.
In the following election in 1999, Ra'am won an even more impressive 114,810 votes and was awarded five Knesset seats. Internal disagreements, however, led three of its top members to leave and form a new party, the Arab National Party, and as a result Ra'am lost support and only won 2 seats in the 2003 elections.
In 2006, Ra'am merged with Ta'al, an Arab party led by Ahmed Tivi, in order to bolster its support base. In the 2006 election, the newly merged party won four seats, of which three were filled by the United Arab List and one by Ta'al.
In January 2009, the Israeli Central Elections Committee banned Ra’am, Ta’al and Balad (another Arab-Israeli party) from running in the elections, accusing them of incitement, supporting terrorist groups and refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist. The Supreme Court subsequently revoked the ban allowing the party to stand in the elections. Thus Ra'am-Ta'al was kept in 2009 and it garnered enough votes for four seats, against splitting 3 and 1 with Ahmed Tibi of Ta'al.