Israel Election Results: Arab Party Demands End to Nation-State Law, Demolitions for Endorsing Gantz

All eyes on Arab Joint List and Avigdor Lieberman as consultations over who will attempt to form a government set to begin

The Joint Arab List after the Israeli election, September 2019
Gil Eliahu

UPDATE: Joint List decides to back Gantz as prime minister

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 41Haaretz

Sources in the Arab Joint List told Haaretz on Sunday what the party's demands are if they are to recommend Benny Gantz for prime minister.  (Who is Benny Gantz? Meet the man who might be Israel's next prime minister)

The Arab alliance of Arab-majority parties has adjourned its meeting on Sunday afternoon without reaching a decision on who to recommend to President Reuven Rivlin for prime minister. The Arab leaders will later convene for further discussions before their meeting with the president.

> Read more: How Avigdor Lieberman has made himself King Bibi's regicide ■ Israeli Arab party must recommend Gantz as prime minister, or Netanyahu will be back | Analysis ■ The government that Israel must have | Ehud Barak

According to the sources, the Joint List will demand the freezing of home demolitions in Arab villages, the establishment of a team to look into the issue of unrecognized villages, progress with a government resolution to stem violence in Arab society, the nixing of the Nation-State Law and the launching of negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. The List is also demanding the cancellation of a law that cracks down on illegal construction.

Lawmaker Aida Touma-Sliman took to Facebook to call on Gantz "to change direction. This is Gantz's crucial moment — either he's an alternative, or he's Netanyahu's double."

Touma-Sliman added that "We are committed to our voters and the values we've been advancing all along: ending the occupation, peace, justice, and real equality. These principles and the aspiration to live in dignity led some half a million voters, many of them Jewish, to cast their ballot" for the Joint List, which is the furthest from Netanyahu.

"Without our power, nobody would have talked about the possibility of Gantz being prime minister," she said.   

Rivlin began Sunday two days of consultation with party leaders to decide which candidate he will choose to give the mandate to attempt to form a governing coalition.

Neither the Joint List nor Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu have announced officially whether they would recommend Gantz to the president, and are expected to make their decisions public later Sunday. 

Israel's Arab parties have not officially recommended a prime minister since the 1992 election, when they backed Labor's Yitzhak Rabin, during whose tenure the Oslo Accords were signed. 

Sources in Gantz's party Kahol Lavan, on the other hand, said that there are no ongoing negotiations with the Arab List – but that their platform already addresses many of the List's demands.

The Joint List, which received the third largest number of seats, 13, will not recommend Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and party sources said on Saturday that although they will not sit in a coalition with him, they are likely to recommend Gantz