Three Arab members from Joint List refuse to back Gantz

Balad, one of the parties making up the Joint List, will not be endorsing Gantz. 

By World Israel News Staff

Three Arab members of the Joint List will not endorse Blue and White Leader Benny Gantz as prime minister.

The Joint List co-chairman Ahmad Tibi told President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday that the party’s recommendation for Gantz does not include the three members of the party’s list that belong to Balad, Haaretz reported on Monday.

The Joint List is an alliance of four Arab parties, of which one is Balad.

Balad advocates erasing the Jewish identity of the State of Israel in favor of a “state of all its citizen.” It calls for the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees into Israel and the removal of all Jewish settlements.

Israel’s Central Elections Committee twice banned Balad from participating in Knesset elections. Israel’s Supreme Court overturned the rulings, most recently this year. Balad’s founder, Azmi Bishara, was eventually charged with treason and supporting terror and fled Israel in 2007.

Balad’s refusal to join other members of the Joint List in endorsing Gantz means only 10 of the party support him and not their total of 13. The number of total endorsements going to Gantz therefore stands at 54 and not 57.

This could impact Rivlin’s decision as to which party leader to offer the first opportunity form a majority coalition as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu currently has 55 recommendations.

Ironically, Israeli media reports that neither Netanyahu nor Gantz want to be picked first as they calculate that the candidate who goes second will have the best chance of building a majority, partly because time would be running out before a third election would need to be called, putting pressure on all parties to come to the table and compromise.

In his official letter to Rivlin, Tibi wrote, “Balad has worked as part of the Joint List to take down Benjamin Netanyahu, and will clearly keep on doing so, but at the same time does not see Gantz as an alternative, when he and his party support the annexation of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, threaten with a war in Gaza and unwilling to annul the racist Nation-State Law.”