Ayman Odeh
Ayman Odeh David Cohen/Flash 90

The chairman of the predominantly Arab Joint List party, MK Ayman Odeh, explained on Thursday evening why the Joint List recommended that the mandate to form a government be given to Yair Lapid, despite his intention to form a government headed by Naftali Bennett.

Speaking to the Arabic language Nasradio, Odeh said, "Even though Bennett is more right-wing than Netanyahu, Netanyahu is stronger and has the ability to implement and carry out his right-wing plans."

Earlier on Thursday, Lapid convened a press conference, for the first time since receiving the mandate to form a government from the President, and described his relationship with Naftali Bennett.

"What I proposed before receiving the mandate also applies after receiving the mandate. My word is ironclad and this is the only proposal currently on the table. Naftali and I were together in the opposition and coalition. I have never cheated him and he has not cheated me."

"From my first days in politics, this has been my dream, this has been my task: Finding the common good. Moving Israeli society from controversy towards agreement. Today we are taking another step in this direction, and we are doing it together."

Lapid stressed, "We all understand that this will not be a government in which all our dreams come true, but the main guideline is the ability to work together. Most Israelis agree on 80 percent of things - it's time for their politicians to do the same."