Yaalon Switches on Arab Support for Blue and White

Blue and White leaders Benny Gantz (L) and Moshe Yaalon. (Flash90)

Blue and White MK Moshe Yaalon has reversed himself on the issue of accepting support from the Joint Arab List, according to Haaretz on Thursday.

The former defense minister and IDF chief, who leads Telem, the right-leaning faction of Blue and White, has expressed support for a deal with JAL, on condition that the hard-line faction Balad, be excluded. That faction has already declared it would not recommend Benny Gantz for prime minister, in any case.

Minister of Tourism MK Yariv Levin (Likud) commented: “A former IDF chief of staff is [willing] to sit [in a coalition] with supporters of Jew murderers. [There’s] no punchline; it’s just a huge embarrassment.”

However, the Yaalon change, even if confirmed, would likely not increase chances of such a deal, given the fallout from Monday’s election, in which JAL MK Ahmad Tibi and others denounced Gantz for excluding them from a potential coalition.

On Thursday, chairman of the Joint List party Ayman Odeh made conditions for his party’s support, including a repudiation of Gantz’s comments about forming a “Jewish majority,” and endorsement of annexations in Yehuda and Shomron (albeit in coordination with the international community).

“Right now, with Gantz’s attitude [in favor] of a Jewish majority and unilateral annexation, we have no one to recommend to the president,” Ayman Odeh told the Kan public broadcaster. “If there is a change after the elections in the direction of peace and equality, we will weigh our position again.”

Meanwhile, Gantz received support from a different direction—Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu. The anti-chareidi party announced its backing for the Blue and White bill earlier Thursday. Reports say it is also seeking to oust Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein of Likud to ensure he doesn’t block a bill to prevent Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏ from forming a government while under indictment.

Updated Thursday, March 5, 2020 at 3:26 pm ..