Jerusalem – Ahead of their meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday to discuss who will be charged with forming the next Israeli government, the Joint List will reportedly present a list of demands to the Blue and White Party spelling out their conditions for officially endorsing Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz as the next prime minister.
The Joint List met on Saturday to discuss the possibility of recommending Gantz, former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, to head up Israel’s government, Israeli media reported. The last time Arab parties recommended an Israeli prime minister was in 1992, when they endorsed Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
However, three of the 13 newly elected Joint List Knesset members, all from the Balad Party, opposed the idea, according to Israel’s Channel 13. Balad leader Jamal Zahalka, who is not currently an MK, tweeted on Saturday night that his faction could not support Gantz, who he said is a right-winger who prefers to build a coalition with Likud.
The Joint List Knesset members have until 6:30 p.m., when their meeting with Rivlin is scheduled to take place, to make their decision.
According to Israeli media reports, included in their set of demands is the repeal of the so-called nation-state law, which officially recognizes Israel as the state of the Jewish people, the renewal of final-status negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, an end to demolitions of illegally built Arab houses and softening of regulations against illegal building in Arab areas, as well as a government bill to fight violence within the Arab sector.
Joint List sources says they are engaging in concrete negotiations with Blue and White, but did not elaborate on what the bloc would do if its demands are not met.
Blue and White has stated that it “hasn’t promised anything in return for a recommendation to the president” from the Joint List.
Blue and White is also engaging in talks with the eight-seat Yisrael Beiteinu Party, which is scheduled to meet with Rivlin at 8 p.m. on Sunday.