Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Joint (Arab) List head Ayman Odeh said Monday he does not rule out recommending Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog to form the next government, saying such a decision would only come after serious talks.
“We will for sure sit and listen to Herzog” and make known our position on promoting equality and improving all of Israeli society, Odeh told The Jerusalem Post. “But we cannot join the coalition.”
Odeh, who is also the new head of the Jewish-Arab Hadash party, has put forth a different Arab face to the Jewish public, one that speaks to all of society, not just the Arab sector. He has been interviewed in numerous Hebrew media outlets and has become a common face on the main TV programs this election season.
Odeh was in favor of the move to sign a vote-sharing agreement with Meretz, but it was reported that the nationalist Balad party blocked it.
Such internal tensions are sure to come up again if the issue of recommending Herzog for prime minister comes up again after the elections.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Monday that the Joint List says “Hamas is not a terrorist organization.”
If a left-wing government would be established “it would depend on these votes,” warned Netanyahu.
Odeh, a lawyer from Haifa, responded to Netanyahu saying, “The right continues not to see Arabs as legitimate citizens and in my opinion he [Netanyahu] is delegitimizing them.”
We call for a democratic state, Odeh declared, but “don’t let the right delegitimize and incite against us” in its failing campaign, he said.
Addressing US readers of the Post
, Odeh said that just as Americans had previously supported Martin Luther King Jr. in his quest for equality between blacks and whites, they should now support the Joint List, which also speaks the language of national equality and societal fairness and is the farthest party ideologically from Netanyahu’s Likud.