Joint List of Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as PM

Benny Gantz idf chief
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty

The Times of Israel reports: In a dramatic shift, the Joint List alliance of Arab-majority parties recommended Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for prime minister on Sunday, seemingly paving the way for the centrist party to get the first crack at assembling a coalition.

The decision marked the first time Arab parties — separately or together — have recommended a mainstream Zionist politician since 1992, when they supported Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, who campaigned on peace with the Palestinians.

“We have seen the most difficult election since 1948 in terms of the incitement against Israel’s Arab citizens,” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh told President Reuven Rivlin upon issuing his party’s recommendation. “We have been turned into a group that is not legitimate in Israeli politics. If we are being pushed out, we will take our rightful place. For us, the most important thing is to remove Benjamin Netanyahu from power.”

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