The Joint List was formed in the build-up to the 2015 elections as an alliance of Balad, Hadash, Ta'al, and the United Arab List (the southern branch of the Islamic Movement). The northern branch of the Islamic Movement denounced the entire electoral project.
The agreement between the parties was signed on 22 January, marking the first time the major Arab parties had run as a single list. Balad, Hadash, and the United Arab List had run separately for elections since the 1990s (Balad and Hadash ran together in 1996), whilst Ta'al had run in alliance with all three during the 1990s and 2000s. However, the raising of the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25% led to the parties creating an alliance to increase their chances of crossing the threshold, as both Hadash and Balad received less than 3% of the vote in the 2013 elections. Initially, the parties mulled running as two blocs (Hadash with Ta'al, and Balad with the Islamic Movement), but party representatives said pressure from the Arab public pushed them to join forces.
The alliance's list for the 2015 elections was headed by Ayman Odeh, the newly-elected leader of Hadash, followed by Masud Ghnaim (United Arab List), Jamal Zahalka (Balad), and Ahmad Tibi (Ta'al), with the following places alternating between Hadash, the Islamic Movement, and Balad. The twelfth to fourteenth places were subject to rotation agreements between the parties.
On 22 September 2019, following the September 2019 election, Odeh and the Joint List agreed to endorse Benny Gantz for prime minister, marking the first time that an Arab party endorsed an Israeli for prime minister since Yitzhak Rabin in 1992. However, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin announced on September 23 that the Joint List's three Balad MKs had abstained from endorsing a candidate, thus putting Gantz behind incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in total MK recommendations, though the Joint List's
endorsement of Gantz did account for 10 of the political bloc's 13 MKs.