Two holdout Blue and White MKs may torpedo efforts to join with Arab List

Two members of the Blue and White faction reportedly got into a shouting match with chairman Moshe Ya’alon about whether to partner with the Joint Arab List.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Two right-wing Knesset members from the Blue and White list got into a shouting match with party leaders on Sunday after refusing to endorse the formation of a government supported by the Joint Arab List, Channel 13 reported.

Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser, members of the center-right Telem faction of the Blue and White list, have opposed the idea of a minority government in all three of Israel’s back-to-back elections.

According to the report, the two met with the party founder and leader, former defense minister and chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon, in their Tel Aviv headquarters.

Although Ya’alon has also maintained that Blue and White would not lean on the anti-Zionist Arab list in order to govern, he has reportedly changed his mind.

His attempt to win over Hendel and Hauser’s support did not go well, however, as the discussion reached the level of “screams and shouts,” Channel 12 reports.

Since news broke that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz has given the green light to a plan to pass a law that bars Benjamin Netanyahu from serving as prime minister – a plan that would need the Joint List’s support – both Hendel and Hauser have maintained a studied silence on the question of cooperating with the anti-Zionist Arab party.

However, the report, if true, indicates they’re opposed to such a partnership .

Without their support, Blue and White won’t have the 61 Knesset members to create a minority government even if all the members of the Joint Arab List and Israel Beiteinu vote for it – which is also in doubt.

The three members of the extremist Balad party in the Arab List refused to endorse Blue and White leader Benny Gantz after the September elections.

In addition, the Arab List as a whole is angry at the pro-Zionist messaging in the latest campaign as Blue and White attempted to woo voters from Israel’s “soft right,” as it’s sometimes called.

Ya’alon founded the Telem party in January 2019 after he left first the defense ministry and then the Likud following run-ins with Netanyahu.

His party’s position mirrors those of Likud and calls for increasing Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. Telem joined Blue and White before the April 2019 elections and holds five of the 32 seats the list won in the latest round of elections on March 2.