Israeli Labor leader says 'will not share a government' with Arab parties
JACK GUEZ (AFP)
Israel's Labor party leader Avi Gabbay said Saturdsay that he would not enter into a governing coalition with the country's Arab political party, the Joint List.
"We will not share a government with the Joint List, period," Gabbay said at a political forum in the southern city of Be'er Sheva, Hebrew media outlets reported.
"You see their behavior," he added. "I don't see any [connection] between us that would allow us to be part of a government with them."
Gabbay said that Labor would need to earn 27 seats in the next election in order to be in a position to form a ruling coalition with the center-left Yesh Atid party, which itself would need to win 11 seats.
He also did not rule out the possibility of a coalition governmnet between Labor, center-right Kulanu, secular right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu, and the ultra-Orthodox parties.
Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh responded to Gabbay's remarks, saying that the Labor party does not represent a true alternative to Netanyahu's right-wing.
"Someone who doesn’t view Arab citizens and their elected representatives as a legitimate group, doesn't present a real alternative to the right," Odeh said.
"Since the days of [former Prime Minister and Labor leader] Ehud Barak, the Labor Party has strived to be a pale replica of the right – and the citizens always choose the original. To be drawn into the delegitimization campaign led by the prime minister against Arab citizens is a huge gift to the far-right coalition headed by Netanyahu and the settlers," he added.
Gabbay won the Labor runoff in July to head Israel's opposition, and supporters hope the political newcomer with a business background will galvanize his beleaguered party.
Gabbay surprised observers by reaching the runoff after joining the party in December, just months after quitting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
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Barak is dead horse... Oded should not be in the Knesset because he does not consider himself as Israeli citizen!