Odeh backtracks on historic statement: Joint List won’t join Gantz govt

The Joint List head accused Blue and White of having a “racist platform” and said he is not insulted by the party’s leadership saying they will not bring his bloc into a coalition.

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September 4, 2019 15:22
1 minute read.
AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List.

AYMAN ODEH, leader of the Joint List.. (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

 Joint List leader Ayman Odeh reversed course less than two weeks after saying he’d be willing to join a Center-Left coalition. 

“There’s no chance,” Odeh said on Kan News on Wednesday, when asked if he will join a coalition led by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. “I don’t want them with their discrimination against Arabs.”
Odeh said he will “never be in a government with the Palestinian people under military rule and we [Israeli Arabs] are second-class citizens. It won’t happen.” 


The Joint List head accused Blue and White of having a “racist platform” and said he is not insulted by the party’s leadership saying they will not bring his bloc into a coalition.


Odeh said his goals are loftier than being in a Gantz-led government: “I hope I will be prime minister, and there will be two states and peace…I want to broaden horizons and bring real hope for Jews and Arabs.”


Last month, Odeh said in an interview with Yediot Aharonot that he would join a Blue and White-led coalition if it annuls the Nation-State Law, stops Arab home demolitions, build a new Arab city and a hospital in an Arab-majority, and take steps to limit crime in Arab towns. 


Odeh has also said that, despite recommending no one in the last two elections, he may recommend Gantz as the next prime minister.


However, other members of the Joint List responded unenthusiastically to Odeh's remarks.


In addition, former IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, one of Blue and White's four-member leadership team, said soon after that his party will not invite the Joint List into the coalition.


“We will not invite a party that does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state,” Ashkenazi told Army Radio. 


Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.


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