09/23/2019, 12.25
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Israel, elections: Arab List supports Gantz as premier to ‘put an end to the Netanyahu era’

For the first time in 30 years the Arabs name a potential head of government. A decision that breaks the traditional boycott of Zionist lists. Lieberman does not intend to be part of an Arab-backed coalition which he calls "our enemies". For Netanyahu, the "danger" announced during the electoral campaign looms.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - To put an end to the domination of Benjamin Netanyahu and prevent a fifth mandate, for the first time in almost 30 years the representatives of the Arab Party have named a potential head of government: Benny Gantz of the "Blue White" coalition.

The surprise decision came yesterday and represents a turning point with respect to the traditional boycott of representatives of Zionist lists for the Arab component. It sparked the wrath of the Likud, which despite its internal rivalries still shows itself united in supporting the outgoing premier's leadership.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin continues consultations with the various party leaders, to decide whom to entrust with the exploratory mandate to form the new government. The elections of September 17th confirmed a stalemate, which effectively prevents one of the two most important camps from giving birth to a majority that can count on at least 61 seats (out of a total of 120) in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament.

While surviving on a political level and escaping trials, Netanyahu offered Gantz a unity government and an alternation of government leadership. The proposal was rejected by the centrist coalition leader.

Negotiations for the formation of the new Israeli government clash with the opposing interests and projects of two of the winners: the Arab List united with its 13 seats and Israel Beytenu by the right-wing falcon Avigdor Lieberman, former ally of "Bibi" Netanyahu.

The move of the Arab parties could give the former general Benny Gantz the number of votes sufficient to form a government but that, at the same time, would mean he would lose – which he has at the moment - the support of Lieberman who with his eight seats acts as a needle in the scale of balance between Likud and the “Blue White” alliance.

Before meeting the president, the leader of the Arab list Ayman Odeh said he wanted to support Gantz because "we want to end the Netanyahu era". In an editorial published in the New York Times he then explained that Arab citizens "can no longer be rejected or ignored".

 "Our decision to indicate Gantz - he added - as the next Prime Minister without waiting for the outcome of the negotiations for the government of national unity is a clear message" that "the only future for this country is a shared future" and this will not be possible "without the full and equal participation" of Arab citizens.

The reply of the other main leaders arrived: "We will not be part of a government with ultra-orthodox parties, but not even one supported by the Arab List," said former Foreign Minister Lieberman, who has added that "the ultra-Orthodox are our political opponents, but the Arabs are our enemies".

Netanyahu instead spoke of a "danger" from which "we had warned" during the election campaign. "We now have two options: either a minority government supported by those who deny Israel as a Jewish and democratic nation and praise terrorists [...] or a larger government of national unity."

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