Arab parties throw support behind Gantz

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin consults with Likud party members in Jerusalem on Sunday, Sep 22, 2019. (photo: Menahem Kahana / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)
It is unclear how Rivlin will get the sides to cooperate, after their campaigns promised not to be part of a government that included certain candidates or certain parties.

By Ruth Eglash | The Washington Post| Sep 22, 2019

‘We will recommend Benny Gantz as prime minister. We want to return to be legitimate political actors and bring an end to the Netanyahu government.’
— Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List [of Arab Israeli parties]

In a historic move, an alliance of Arab Israeli parties recommended a prime ministerial candidate to President Reuven Rivlin for the first time in almost three decades, saying in consultations Sunday that it would support a bid by former army chief of staff Benny Gantz to replace Benjamin Netanyahu.

The process of selecting Israel’s next prime minister has entered its second stage, with eyes firmly on the country’s largely ceremonial president as he looks for a way out of a deadlocked election result to avert a third vote.

Arab parties traditionally refrain from recommending a candidate during consultations as an ideological protest of Israel’s ongoing military occupation of the Palestinians. The last time an Arab party backed a candidate during consultations was in 1992, when Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister. Two years later, Rabin signed the historic Oslo accords with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

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