Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Members of the Joint Arab List meet President Reuven Rivlin, September 22, 2019.

At around 7 PM Sunday, co-chairman of the Joint Arab List, Ahmad Tibi, sent President Reuven Rivlin a short letter stating:

“I wish to inform his honor that three MKs from Balad (one of the four parties in the Arab faction – DI) have asked me to announce that today’s recommendation by the Joint Arab List of MK Benny Gantz [to form a coalition government] does not include them, therefore the recommendation is coming from 10 MKs (from Hadash, Ra’am and Ta’al) and not 13.”

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Meanwhile, Blue&White on Sunday sent messages to the Arab list stating they would not meet the party’s demands, this in an attempt to cause them not to recommend Benny Gantz to the president, so he won’t be picked first by the President, Reshet Bet radio reported Monday morning.

The idea is that should Gantz receive fewer recommendations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be the one to receive the mandate to form a government, at which he is expected to fail, leaving the various parties, left and right, more amenable to Gantz’s offers.

Blue&White told the Joint Arab List they reject their demands to repeal the Nationality Law, and the law that boosts enforcement of measures against illegal construction in the Arab sector.

Too bad the Arabs didn’t ask not to demolish Khan al Ahmar…

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, United Torah Judaism officials said that should they be asked by Netanyahu not to recommend him to the president, they would certainly consider the request favorably and not recommend him, to make sure Netanyahu collects fewer recommendations, causing Gantz to get first try from the president.

To date, Netanyahu has not made such a request.

Yamina officials said they would not play this game if asked.

When the dust clears, Monday evening, the likely outcome would be Netanyahu with 55 recommendations, Gantz with 54. Bibi’s long game would then be to go full steam ahead, fail the first term, get an extension and fail again, then martial his forces to sabotage Gantz’s efforts to cobble a coalition. Should Gantz fail to lure the Haredim to his coalition – which is an unknown at this point, because the Haredim Gantz meets in close to two months will have been put through the wringer by Netanyahu – but should Gantz fail, Netanyahu is counting on the final, 21-day phase when the Knesset votes on a candidate, a vote that could be wrested on an MK by MK basis.

The last time such a battle was engaged was in 1993, when a Tzomet MK, Alexander Goldfarb, reportedly drove away with a brand new Mitsubishi, courtesy of Yitzhak Rabin.

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