Arab List recommends Gantz for premiership, could spell end of Likud rule

The Joint List said it wants Benny Gantz to set up a government. 

By World Israel News Staff

In a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday, Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List, the controversial political alliance of Arab-majority parties, recommended unanimously the establishment of a center-left government led by Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz.

Asked again by Rivlin who the Joint List recommends, Odeh repeated that the entire faction wants Gantz to be selected to set up a new government.

The recommendation may give Gantz the edge in forming a government over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Odeh said that Israel was under the rule of fascists and that the List is opposed to the Likud and Netanyahu.

The Joint List, which includes four Arabs and one Jewish member, won an unprecedented 15 seats in the March 2nd elections. It is steeped in controversy and has been accused of supporting terrorism. Ahmed Tibi, its No. 2 on the list, is a former political adviser to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, known as the Father of Modern Terror.

Tibi, who also spoke at the meeting, complained about the “outrageous” attempts to delegitimize the List. He said efforts to separate the Arab population from the Joint List were “artificial” and “hallucinatory,” noting that the Joint List had received vast support from the Arab sector in Israel.

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There was a question mark before the meeting as to whether the Balad party, one of the four parties that make up the Joint List, would support recommending Gantz for the premiership.

However, at the meeting, Mtanes Shehadeh, head of Balad, which holds three Knesset seats, said that it decided out of responsibility to its voters and in order to maintain unity within the Joint List to vote in favor of Gantz. Shehadeh said it was no secret that the party wanted to see Netanyahu replaced.

“In spite of all the difficulties, we decided to go with the Joint List to change the reality for the good of us all,” he said.