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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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.

White House says it expects federal contractors to be vaccinated by Dec. 8

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House said in new guidance Friday that it expects millions of federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: Companies with federal contractors have been waiting for formal guidance from the White House before requiring those employees to get vaccinated, according to Reuters.

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