Top Arab-Israeli Lawmaker Says Open to Joining Center-Left Coalition
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List, an alliance of four small Arab-backed parties, reacts to exit poll figures at his party's headquarters in the city of Nazareth on March 17, 2015. (Photo: AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Arab-Israeli Lawmaker Says Open to Joining Center-Left Coalition

Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, Israel’s top Arab lawmaker, expressed a willingness to join a center-left coalition following the September 17 national elections. The apparent reversal of longstanding opposition by Arab-majority parties to join a government is being construed as a possible effort to unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the vote. Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party is currently polling neck-and-neck with Benny Gantz’s Blue and White list, although projections show both of them having difficulty cobbling together enough support from other parties in order to reach the magic 61-seat majority in the 120-member parliament. In this respect, the backing of even a few Arab legislators could end up pushing Blue and White across the finish line. In an interview with Israel’s Yediot Ahronot newspaper, Odeh nevertheless provided a long series of conditions that Gantz and his ostensible political partners would need to satisfy in order for such a scenario to materialize. These include, among others, a renewal of peace negotiations with the Palestinians and an end to home demolitions in the West Bank; striking down the controversial Jewish nation-state law that was passed last year; stricter enforcement of gun laws in the Arab-Israeli communities and the establishment of an inter-governmental task force to combat high crime rates therein. Odeh also demanded that a public hospital be built in an Arab city; that pensions for the elderly be raised; and that state funding be increased for women’s shelters. In a follow-up tweet on Thursday, Odeh added another major stipulation: that is, “ending the occupation,” a reference to Israel’s military presence in the West Bank. Some are viewing this as a backtrack of sorts, as a complete Israel Defense Forces withdrawal from areas located beyond the pre-1967 borders is essentially a non-starter. Moreover, other factions in the Joint List have already released statements distancing themselves from Odeh’s comments. For their part, the parties expected to back Gantz for premier previously made clear their opposition to sitting in a government with what they deem anti-Zionists.

Give the Gift of Truth This Jewish New Year

The Media Line has been leading for more than twenty years in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. please help us with your generous contributions.
The Media Line
We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays.

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.