Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, an alliance of four small Arab-backed parties accompanied by his family, casts his ballot in Haifa, Israel, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
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Israel's Arabs, who account for just over 20 percent of the population, have long complained of feeling disenfranchised.But this year, after the main Arab parties joined forces in a list tipped win as many as 13 mandates in the 120-seat parliament, voters have been infused with a new sense of hope.The head of the Joint List that includes nationalists, Islamists and the Jewish-Arab Communist party described it "a historic day for the Arabs".Three hours into the voting, turnout within the Arab sector stood at about 10 percent, compared with 3.0 percent in 2013 .Even among Jewish Israelis there are those who are casting their ballots for the Joint List.Israel's 1.3 million Arabs are the descendents of 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land when the country was established in 1948 .
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