MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union), who is running for the leadership of the Labor party, said on Sunday that he would be willing to sit in a coalition with the Arab Joint List party.

In an interview with i24news, Margalit was asked if he would include the Joint List in a coalition he would form and whether he would appoint an Arab MK, such as Hanin Zoabi, to a ministerial portfolio.

“Hanin Zoabi took herself out of the equation. So did Basel Ghattas...[but] I will sit with them. Yes. I will sit with Dov Khenin and I will sit with Ayman Odeh,” said Margalit.

“Ayman Odeh is the leader of the party and he represents Arab members that want to be part of...,” he added, without completing the sentence, before stressing, “But I will not let them lead anything.”

Margalit's comments differ from the long-standing policy of the Labor party not to sit with Arab parties in the same government, but rather to rely on them as part of a parliamentary safety net.

Margalit, a former high-tech and social entrepreneur, has served in the Knesset for the Labor party since 2013, and is now seeking to unseat current Labor leader Yitzhak Herzog.

He recently came under fire for meeting senior Fatah official Jibril Rajoub, who in the past suggested that if the Palestinian Authority had nuclear weapons, it would use them against Israel, and has also led efforts to have Israel banned from FIFA.

Following that meeting, Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) blasted Margalit and said, “Margalit met with someone aiding efforts to boycott us, and together with him he [Margalit] attacks the Prime Minister and myself, and supports terrorists who murdered hundreds of Israelis.”