Published 2nd January, 2013
Balad or Brit Le’umit Demokratit (National Democratic Assembly or Alliance)) was founded in 1996. It believes in the creation of an Israel as a bi-national state as a democracy for all its citizens, although it is an Arab Nationalist party and is anti-Zionist as well as believing in Democratic Socialism and Left-wing Nationalism.
In the 1999 elections, the party won two seats and in 2002 their party leader, Azmi Bishara, was indicted for supporting terrorist organisations working against Israel, but eventually sought protection under parliamentary immunity.
Despite attempts to disqualify Balad from the 2003 elections, they were allowed to run and won three seats in the 120 seat Knesset and in 2006 they held on to all three seats.
Azmi Bishara continued to cause controversy and in 2007 he resigned from the Knesset and continued to charge Israel with accusations of apartheid from abroad. In 2009 Balad faced attempts to disqualify the party from the election, but eventually the Supreme Court of Israel overturned an earlier ruling and they went on to win three seats once more.