Tibi: If new elections are held, we'll get 15 seats

Joint List MK says he would welcome new elections, stresses Joint List will not be part of a government.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Ahmed Tibi
Ahmed Tibi
Flash 90

MK Ahmed Tibi (Joint List) said on Friday that he would be happy if Israel had a third election, claiming that if such an election were to happen, his party would increase the voter turnout and win up to 15 seats.

Speaking in an interview on Kan 11 News, Tibi was asked about the possibility that Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Betenu would be a part of a government headed by Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, and replied that this possibility has not been brought up.

"We do not relate positively to those who call us enemies. We will probably be on opposite sides of the barricades,” he said.

Tibi made clear that his party will not be part of a government and added that the Joint List is still waiting to be presented with the option of a narrow government and being an obstructive bloc.

"The talks with Gantz have taken place in recent weeks. We presented civil and political demands. I have reason to believe that some of the demands will soon be implemented - a government decision to eradicate crime, the Kaminitz Law that speaks of the intensification of punishment for unauthorized homes. There are additional demands for representation and absorption of Arabs in the public service. I am very optimistic about putting these understandings into practice,” Tibi noted.

He was asked about Gantz not calling Mtanes Shehadeh, who chairs the Balad party which is one of the four parties that make up the Joint List.

"Gantz called 14 party leaders, that's a step in the right direction, but the Joint List is made up of four parties and it's a mistake not to call Mtanes Shehadeh as well. You can't split the Joint List. It’s true that there is internal debate within the party, we will continue to hold it democratically and do what is good for the Arab public," said Tibi.

On Wednesday, after he received the mandate to form the government from President Reuven Rivlin, Gantz phoned Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh and the two agreed to meet.

He then called Tibi and they both agreed to hold a meeting in the coming days.

Sources close to Gantz stressed that the meetings that are not part of coalition negotiations but are rather meant for Gantz to hear about the problems of the Arab public in Israel.

Tibi is one of the more controversial Arab MKs in the Knesset, having in the past encouraged Arabs to disobey the “Muezzin Law” which would limit the use of loudspeakers during the call to prayer in mosques.

He has also praised the Palestinian Authority’s “martyrs” at a ceremony held on the occasion of "Palestinian Martyrs Day” and sponsored by Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Tibi once described Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman as a “Jewish ISIS”, after Liberman advocated for “cutting of the heads” of Arabs who were not loyal to Israel.

Earlier this year, he spoke of his dream to one day become Israel’s prime minister, adding “and if I it’s not me, then it will be another Ahmed, Mohammed or Mahmoud."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)