Benny Gantz (L) and Yair Lapid (R) at a press conference, March 21st, 2019.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
The Blue and White Party will not bring Arab parties into the coalition if it forms one, because Hadash-Ta’al and UAL-Balad will not accept Israel as the Jewish state, MK Yael German clarified on Saturday.
The remarks from German, whose past as mayor of Herzliya from Meretz marks her as one of the more left-wing members in Blue and White’s mix of rightist, centrist and leftist candidates, came a few days after party leader Benny Gantz said in a televised interview that they are willing to form a coalition with “anything that is Jewish.”
“We say Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people. That’s how the Declaration of Independence opens,” German said. “We, the Jewish people, deserve our own state. [The Arab parties] don’t accept this. They believe that Israel is a state of all its nationalities... and not the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
Therefore, German said, the Arab parties are unwilling to join a coalition and that has always been the situation.
Still, she added, Israeli Arabs “deserve equal rights, and we need to stop the intolerable discrimination against them, which is a great injustice.”
Likud candidates, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly accused Blue and White of planning to form a coalition or a bloc with the Arab parties to keep Netanyahu from remaining prime minister, and have used the slogan “it’s Bibi or Tibi,” referring to MK Ahmad Tibi.
Hadash posted on Facebook: “When Yael German, a former Meretz member who is supposed to be the leftist in Blue and White, disqualifies Hadash-Ta’al as partners, it’s a clear indication that Gantz is interested in forming a right-wing government with Netanyahu.
“But it’s also an indication that in the question of Arab citizens’ legitimacy, Blue and White are influenced by Netanyahu’s incitement and choose to be a pale imitation of him,” the party added. “There is no true alternative to a right-wing government without the Arab public having political power.”
Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg expressed disappointment at the “Center’s silence about the racist question.
“Neither Blue and White nor Labor found room for an Arab candidate and for Jewish-Arab partnership based on equality,” she said. “In the previous election, Netanyahu started with saying ‘Arabs are flocking [to the voting booths]’ on the day of the election. This time, it’s over the course of the entire election campaign.
Zandberg said every party should say “yes” when asked if they would sit with Arab parties in a coalition.
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