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Arab MKs recommend Gantz for Israel prime minister

September 23, 2019 at 10:37 am

Leader of the Blue and White political alliance, former chief of staff of the Israeli army, Benny Gantz speaks to his supporters during the final stage of his election campaign in Tel Aviv, Israel, 15 September 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh – Anadolu Agency]

In a rare move, the Arab dominated Joint List yesterday recommended head of the Blue White Benny Gantz to become Israel’s new prime minister, local media reported.

Commenting on the recommendation, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman said: “The Joint List are enemies.”

Meanwhile, head of the Likud and incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the move and said that the thing which he had warned of has just happened.

Reports said that the Joint List’s bid was inline with their election promise of “bringing an end to Netanyahu and his government, who spread hate” against Arab citizens of israel.

The Arab MKs had set conditions before agreeing to recommend Gantz, a source from the party told Haaretz.

Freezing home demolition in the Arab villages was one of the conditions, while setting up a team to study the issue of the unrecognised villages and pushing for government action to fight crime in the Israeli Arab communities were others.

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Among the Joint List’s conditions were the abolition of the Nation-State Law, starting a peace process with the Palestinian Authority and cancelling a law which intensifies the penalties of building violations.

The sources said that these conditions were discussed with the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, but did not say whether they were completely or partially accepted.

In a statement sent to MEMO, the Joint List said its move to recommend Gantz should not been seen as the party “backing the next government”, adding that the party is looking to become “an active and effective player in the political arena”.

It is worth noting that Balad, one of the parties that makes up the Joint List and has three elected MKs, refused to recommend Gantz and did not attend the recommendation meeting with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin yesterday evening.

Their withdrawal from the Joint list leaves Gantz with only 54 seats, one fewer than Netanyahu currently holds with the support of the right-wing parties.