Israel Election Results: Why Arab Parties Did Not Fully Endorse Gantz

What appears as an ideological rift within the alliance of Arab factions may in fact have been coordinated with Benny Gantz's party

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Joint List head Ayman Odeh and Balad faction leader Mtanes Shehadeh at the Knesset on Sunday.
Joint List head Ayman Odeh and Balad faction leader Mtanes Shehadeh at the Knesset on Sunday.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Mtanes Shehadeh, head of the Balad faction of the Joint List, confirmed to Haaretz on Monday that he had personally approached the director-general of President Reuven Rivlin’s bureau with the message that the faction objected to recommending Benny Gantz for prime minister. Balad wanted to make sure its members’ names were removed from the list of those who had given the Kahol Lavan leader their endorsement, Shehadeh said.

But Rivlin’s office demanded to receive their request in writing, including the signatures of Joint List leader Ayman Odeh and Knesset party whip Ahmed Tibi. Odeh and Tibi handed in the request on Monday, after trying unsuccessfully to persuade Shehadeh to change his mind so that they wouldn’t be handing Netanyahu an advantage in the consultations. But Balad insisted, and the letter was submitted, formally reducing Gantz’s number of recommendations to 54 while Netanyahu’s is 55.

Israel's Arab voters can decide it all. Do they want to? LISTEN to Election Overdose

Subscribe
0:00
-- : --

Haaretz has learned that under the initial understanding reached by the heads of the four parties that make up the Joint List, the alliance’s decision was supposed to be binding on all its members, which is what Odeh and Tibi told Rivlin when they met on Sunday. But Balad leaders, among them former lawmakers Haneen Zoabi and Jamal Zahalka sharply criticized that decision afterwards.

>> Read more: By backing Gantz, Arab slate signals its public seeks to influence national agenda | Analysis

Meanwhile, some sources in Balad suggested that their letter dissociating from the Gantz recommendation had been written with Tibi,Odeh and Kahol Lavan’s agreement, as Gantz’s party did not wish to be the first to be asked to form the government. But Odeh, Tibi and Kahol Lavan have denied any such collusion.

Members of Hadash, another party in the Joint List, also objected to recommending Gantz to the president. MK Aida Touma-Sliman posted on Facebook: “This is Gantz’s fateful moment. Either he’s an alternative or he’s a Netanyahu double. We can’t be expected to recommend Gantz, after which he’ll rush to form a unity government. We demand a path that leads to a horizon that includes a hope for peace, justice, an end to the siege of Gaza, true equality, national and civil.”

Touma-Sliman’s remarks were also seen as directed against Odeh. But all party members of the Joint List alliance said they remain united despite these differences.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer

Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile last week.

Chile Community Leaders 'Horrified' by Treatment of Israeli Envoy

Queen Elizabeth attends a ceremony at Windsor Castle, in June 2021.

Over 120 Countries, but Never Israel: Queen Elizabeth II's Unofficial Boycott