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Benny Gantz. Photo: Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, recommended to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday that Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue and White Party and the main opponent of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, form the next Israeli government.

Why it matters: This is the first time since 1992 that an Arab party in Israel has recommended one of the candidates for prime minister. The recommendation by the Arab Joint List brings the number of members of the Israeli parliament who support Gantz to 57, compared to 55 for Netanyahu. Since Netanyahu and Gantz virtually tied in last week's election, Odeh's move almost guarantees that Gantz will receive the mandate from Rivlin to form a government.

The big picture: The fact the Arab Joint List recommended Gantz is a huge development in Israeli politics and in the integration of the Arab minority population in Israeli society. It's even more meaningful when considering that Gantz was a former chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force, and that two of his running mates are also former IDF chiefs of staff.

  • Throughout his tenure, Netanyahu's policies have often been at odds with the Arab Palestinian citizens, who make up approximately 1/5 of Israel's population.
  • Just last summer, Netanyahu passed a controversial nation-state law that granted Jews the "unique" right to "exercise national self-determination." He later declared that "Israel is not a state of all its citizens," but rather a "nation state of the Jewish people — and only it."

What they're saying: In a New York Times op-ed, Odeh wrote that the decision to recommend Gantz is not an endorsement of his policies, but rather an effort to end Netanyahu's "long reign of corruption, lies and fear."

  • "Our decision to recommend Mr. Gantz as the next prime minister without joining his expected national unity coalition government is a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Arab Palestinian citizens."
  • "By choosing to recommend Mr. Gantz, we have proven that cooperation between people, Arab and Jewish, is the only principled political strategy that will lead to a better future for us all."

The bottom line: Netanyahu needs to remain in government in order to win immunity if the attorney general decides to indict him for 3 cases of corruption after his upcoming hearing on Oct. 3.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
54 mins ago - Energy & Environment

What to watch as infrastructure talks heat up

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A mix of Beltway action and extreme weather events have brought the fault lines in infrastructure talks and their planetary stakes into sharper focus.

Catch up fast: Senate Democratic leaders pledged to seek big climate measures in a multitrillion-dollar, Democrats-only package that faces a very narrow political path.

Drought, record heat wave in West have hallmarks of climate change

People on Folsom Lake in Granite Bay, California, U.S., June 16, 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The prolonged and widespread heat wave in the West, along with the region's increasingly severe drought, is a sign of how climate change has already tilted the odds in favor of such extremes, studies show.

Why it matters: The rapidly growing Southwest, in particular, is also the nation's fastest-warming region. The combination of heat and drought could lead to a repeat, or even eclipse, the severity of 2020's wildfire season in California and other states.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
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The sports stock market

Note: Michael Jordan's card is for baseball; Data: Alt; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Shohei Ohtani's trading card value has risen 781% since the start of 2021, the highest year-to-date return of any athlete on Alt, a sports card exchange that aims to bring more liquidity to alternative assets.

Why it matters: The trading card market is the closest thing we have to a stock market for sports.

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