Do-over election, Israeli Arabs win big

Dan Diker views the emergence of the Arab Joint List, less the Balad party, the beginning of an historic shift for Israeli Arab leaders.

Israel News Talk Radio,

Joint List
Joint List
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Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back Dan Diker to discuss important developments in a tumultuous do-over election.

The result is a virtual tie with the Blue and White and left-center alliance headed by Benny Gantz at 44 Knesset seats versus Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud and the right-wing alliance with 55 seats.

The Arab Joint List with 10 seats, which endorsed Gantz, and Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu with 8 seats, have big chips in unity government negotiations in order to pass the threshold of 61 seats with Gantz and Netanyahu as rotating PMs. Liberman is trying to position himself as leader of the secular nationalists to emerge as a possible future PM.

Both the April and September do-over elections, Diker thinks, have been a referendum on the character of Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister who is facing hearings in October on corruption charges.

As Diker sees it, the big news of the do-over election is the emergence of Israeli Arabs rejecting the corruption and “descent into a cauldron of violence” of the PLO-Fatah, Hamas and Shiite extremism of Iran.

Instead, they ironically opted to back a former IDF commander, Gantz, embracing Israeli democracy. The Joint List might end up as the opposition in a Knesset with a rotating Blue and White–Likud unity government.

Diker views this emergence of the Arab Joint List, less the rejectionist Balad party, as the beginning of an historic shift in Israeli Arab leaders. He believes that development is bad news for the anti-Semitic International BDS movement.

Diker is the Director of the Program to Counter Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA). He is a former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress. He is the editor and co-author of Defeating Denormalization—Shared Palestinian and Israeli Perspectives on a New Path to Peace, (2018).