The Israeli Arab Hadash, Ta’al and Ra’am parties have forged a merger for the Sept. 17 general election under the leadership of MK Ayman Odeh, while a fourth party is poised to jump in. Arab voter turnout in Israel’s elections declines consistently over the gap between the average Arab voter, who is concerned with local issues, including rising violence, and the community’s political leaders, who adhere to a pro-Palestinian agenda and flat opposition to government. Israeli Arabs – no more than 14 percent, according to a recent survey – define themselves today as Palestinians while 65 percent call themselves Israelis. The Arab community is increasingly integrated in the national labor force at all levels and longs for more influence on government. Arab party leaders were galvanized into joining forces by the new Israeli left-wing union and its rival appeal to the Arab voter. Parties must submit their lists by Aug. 1.