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Israel’s Arab party’s new target: 20 Knesset seats

Members of the Arab Joint List say that if another round of election is held, their party will only grow stronger.
A picture taken on February 21, 2020, shows a portrait of PM Netanyahu (Left) and portrait of Arab Israeli member of the Joint List Ahmad Tibi (R) on a campaign poster, with Arabic writing reading "staying here" as a response to Netanyahu's Likud party campaign pledging for a government "without Ahmad Tibi", in the northern Israeli City of Tayyiba. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

While it is too soon to say whether the Likud and Blue and White parties will form an emergency unity government to confront the coronavirus crisis, one thing is clear: A minority government comprised of Blue and White and the Arab Joint List is no longer in the cards.

On March 10, Gesher faction head Orly Levy-Abekasis dropped a political bomb when she announced in a Facebook post — without informing her partners on the center-left Labor-Meretz ticket — that she would not vote for a minority government dependent on the support of Arab parties. She even hinted that she would not recommend Blue and White leader Benny Gantz as the country’s next prime minister. Her move stunned Labor Chair Amir Peretz who had moved heaven and earth in recent months to forge a partnership with her small Gesher party, fending off critics who warned that her heart was on the political right from where she hailed. Her decision could wipe out his long political career and could also be the last nail in the coffin of the Labor party.

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