Party’s Official Name: HaHazit HaDemokratit LeShalom VeLeShivion
Leader: Mohammed Barakeh
MKs in current Knesset: 4
Latest Haaretz poll: 4
A modern incarnation of the veteran Israeli Communist Party, Hadash (Democratic Front for Peace and Equality) is the only truly Jewish-Arab party in Israel (though in recent elections only about 10 percent of its voters were Jewish). Despite staying loyal to its Marxist-Leninist roots, the party has in recent years also included in its platform elements of Arab nationalism. It has also spearheaded Knesset legislation on environmental issues (it describes itself as red-green). Hadash is often criticized by the other two Arab parties for not being nationalist enough and even (though this is strenuously denied by Hadash) for harboring “Zionist” elements.
Hadash’s core beliefs, in addition to Communism, are an end to the occupation of the territories Israel captured in 1967, the establishment of a Palestinian state in those territories and the transformation of Israel into “a state of all its citizens” rather than a Jewish state.
Mohammed Barakeh has led the Knesset faction for the last 13 years, though the party itself does not have an official leader. He has continued the tradition of Arab-Jewish solidarity though some of the veteran members believe he has distanced himself from the old ideas of internationalism. Hana Sweid, a city planner who is second on the party’s list, is not a communist and his prominent position is due to Hadash’s attempts to spotlight its work on behalf of local Israeli-Arab interests. Dov Khenin, third on the Knesset list, is the most prominent member of the party in Jewish circles and a prolific legislator on social and environmental issues. In 2008, Khenin ran for Tel Aviv mayor, coming in second with 34 percent of the vote. But Khenin’s personal popularity has not significantly boosted Hadash among Jewish voters.
Every election campaign, the party’s Jewish supporters believe that voting Hadash has become trendy among young Jewish voters, but the number of Jewish votes the party garners rarely exceeds 10,000.
Source: Haaretz Elections Center