Joint List chairman: 'I'll be the first Arab opposition leader'

MK Ayman Odeh says that if Blue and White joins a unity gov't, he'll lead the opposition.

Sara Rubenstein ,

Ayman Odeh
Ayman Odeh
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh said on Kan News on Sunday that if Blue and White joins a unity government, he'll be the first Arab leader of the opposition. “We want to influence,” Odeh said, adding that leading the opposition “is very influential.”

Odeh also criticized Gantz for Blue and White's less than welcoming response last week to Odeh's statement that he would join a center-left coalition. Odeh told Yediot Aharonot that he would join a coalition of center-left parties if certain basic requirements regarding Israeli Arabs were met. However, Blue and White MK Yoav Hendel responded that Blue and White will not "sit with the Arab parties, which fundamentally deny the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. Period."

The Joint List includes Balad, an Arab ultra-nationalist political party, which has declared its opposition to Israel as a Jewish state. The Supreme Court is currently discussing an appeal by Otzma Yehudit leader Itamar Ben Gvir to ban the Joint List from running in the upcoming elections. The appeal accuses Joint List members of incitement to terrorism, supporting a terror group, and denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish state.

Odeh told Kan that Gantz didn't have enough courage to include the Joint List in a possible coalition and his political ideas are "not ripe."

Gantz told Channel 12 News on Saturday that if elected prime minister he would work to improve conditions in Arab communities but he would only be willing to work with those “who recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

“It seems to me that there are parts within the Arab parties that clash with [this condition],” he said - a reference to the Balad party.