If Center-left Forms Gov't With Haredis, We May Support It, Arab Israeli MK Says

Joint List lawmaker Ahmad Tibi says his alliance would support a government 'from the outside,' which means it would not actually be part of a ruling coalition

Member of the Joint List Ahmad Tibi speaks to the press  following a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem, Sunday, September 22, 2019. 
Member of the Joint List Ahmad Tibi speaks to the press  following a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem, Sunday, September 22, 2019. Credit: Menahem Kahana,AP

The Joint List of Arab-majority parties does not rule out the possibility of supporting a government led by Kahol Lavan, together with leftist and ultra-Orthodox parties, Ta'al party leader MK Ahmad Tibi told Channel 13 on Saturday.

Tibi clarified that his alliance would support a government "from the outside," which means it would not actually be part of a ruling coalition.

“Kahol Lavan, Labor, Meretz, the Haredim [ultra-Orthodox], that’s 60 [Knesset seats],” Tibi said. “There’s something to talk about with the Joint List. This is a scenario from the 1990s,” he added, referring to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s second government, which was supported from the outside by the Arab parties.

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Tibi said that President Reuven Rivlin had not been precise when he said the Joint List would not sit with Kahol Lavan under any circumstances. “We will oppose a narrow, right-wing Netanyahu government, but the scenario I describe is another story entirely,” Tibi said.

When asked whether the members of Joint Listwould want to head Knesset committees, Tibi said: “We are prepared to do so according to the [model of] the 1990s, negotiating with a written agreement to our demands.” Tibi said that the members of his party would not serve as government ministers “but chairman of the Finance Committee, what’s bad about that?”

Finally, Tibi was asked, hypothetically, whether his party would bring down the government if a military operation began in Gaza during a term of that coalition. “Unequivocally yes,” he answered. However, he said that with such a government at the helm, “the atmosphere would supposedly be different, the process would be different.”

MK Ofer Shelah of Kahol Lavan, who was interviewed after Tibi, said he did not rule out such a proposal. “It’s connecting many different parts. But I don’t rule out any idea. As we said throughout the campaign – we are heading toward a unity government without Netanyahu, and without extremists. If he [Netanyahu] fails it will be the best situation to keep our promise to voters.”

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