Joint List leader Odeh: Above all else, we say no to Netanyahu

Aymen Odeh, leader of the Joint List, explained the difference between the “technical” recommendation he gave supporting Blue and White to the one he would ideally want to give.

MK Ayman Odeh places camera in PM Benjamin Netanyahu's face during debate on bill legislating filming in polling stations (photo credit: ISAAC HARARI / KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
MK Ayman Odeh places camera in PM Benjamin Netanyahu's face during debate on bill legislating filming in polling stations
(photo credit: ISAAC HARARI / KNESSET SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
Joint List leader Aymen Odeh discussed whether or not his party will recommend Blue and White leader and former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz to President Reuven Rivlin to lead the country after the upcoming March elections in an interview Haaretz printed on Friday.
“Our [previous] recommendation was only a technical recommendation [in favor of Gantz],” he said, “while the meaningful one is 'no to [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.'”
Netanyahu repeatedly suggested that Blue and White is keen to form a coalition with the Arab-Israeli party Odeh leads, saying that such a hypothetical partnership will make any military action against Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip extremely complicated.
“Gantz can make our technical recommendation [given after the last elections, and make it] into a meaningful one if his direction will be like that of [the late prime minister Yitzhak] Rabin in the ’90s. In that case, we will act as we did then, and be part of his [Gantz's] political bloc,” he said.
He further stated that his goals for the upcoming March elections are to gain 61 seats in Knesset without Yisrael Beitenu, forming a center-left bloc.
Gantz, previously boasted that he will use his experience as a former IDF chief of staff to restore Israeli deterrence against the radical Islamist terror group Hamas, which currently controls the Gaza Strip.   
Avigdor Liberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu and a former defense minister, said that as in the past he and his party will continue refuse to cooperate with Arab-Israeli parties.
He also boasted in his 2009 media campaigns that he “speaks Arabic,” meaning he will be able to provide Jewish-Israelis with security.
This slogan led to a provocation by former MK Jamal Zahlka, who addressed Liberman in Arabic in 2014, a language Liberman does not actually speak.
Odeh said that all that separates his party and Blue and White from such a coalition are four seats, two for Blue and White and two for Joint List. 
A poll conducted by Makor Rishon and released on Friday, found that if elections were held today such a hypothetical block of Joint List supporting Blue and White would not gain 61 seats, but instead only 54 seats. In theory, it is possible that no party will be able to form a coalition and gain a ruling majority even after the third elections, which will spark a fourth election. Netanyahu currently leads the nation as the head of a caretaker government, but there is no theoretical limit to the duration of the care.   
The poll found that if elections were held today, Joint List would gain one seat, making their total seats in Knesset 14.
A poll conducted by Globes in March found that three-fourths (74%) of Arab-Israelis want their representatives to join a coalition, thus gaining access to ministries and budgets.
During the recent flooding in the north of the country, Channel 12 reported that the natural disaster prompted Arab-Israelis with tractors, trucks and other vehicles to offer their Jewish neighbors help.
In Nahariya, a 32-year-old man, Moti Ben Shabat, drowned while attempting to rescue a family trapped in a sinking car. Although the family was saved, he himself perished in the rescue attempt and was posthumously called a national hero by President Reuven Rivlin.