The Price of the Premiership

The Arab Joint List, which includes the main Arab-majority political parties in Israel, has made a number of brash demands in exchange for supporting Blue and White leader Benny Gantz for Israel’s prime minister. The most brazen requirement is an end to Jewish visits to the Temple Mount, the most sacred location in Judaism. “We have a clear position on the issue of the al-Aqsa mosque. We want to see the cessation of all visits of extremist settlers to the mosque,” Odeh said, referring to Jewish people. The Joint List also demands no unilateral steps be taken to support the Trump administration’s Mideast peace plan, according to Furthermore, Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh is calling for half of Israel’s capital to be used for a future Palestinian state capital, though this demand is less pressing currently. 

When the election took place on March 2, I had hoped by the end of the day any hostility or political maneuvering would take a rest. Yet things have heated back up quickly, as Israel’s parties are still attempting to shift power in an attempt to form a government. Clearly this doesn’t seem to be a move that would benefit Israel. It would only stir up further hostility between the Jewish people and the Palestinians, and the Joint List’s opposition to Zionism exemplifies its rejection of the Jewish people. Hopefully Gantz will recognize that this compromise is not worth the price he would have to pay for the support of the Joint List. 

However, the decision may soon be out of his hands. Labor-Gesher-Meretz MK Orly Levy Abekasis has refused to back a Joint List-supported coalition. This lack of support from within the coalition could doom Gantz’s shot at forming a minority government. Undoubtedly a partnership between Blue and White and the Joint List would spell trouble for Israel. If Gantz indeed accepts the Joint List’s demands, the political scene would only stand to turn uglier and more divided as Likud and Blue and White would have to continue to duke it out.