By ARON HELLER
JERUSALEM (AP) — The leader of the main Arab faction in parliament has shaken up Israel’s election campaign by offering to sit in a moderate coalition government — a development that would end decades of Arab political marginalization and could potentially bring down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Ayman Odeh’s offer to back Netanyahu’s chief opponent, Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, for prime minister reflects the growing desire of Israel’s large Arab minority to take a more active role in shaping the country. It also challenges the longstanding norm that Arabs are out of bounds as political partners with the Jewish majority.
If Odeh can generate excitement and boost Arab turnout, it could be enough to tip the scales in Israel’s fractured political landscape and finally topple Netanyahu, who has long incited against Arab political leaders and questioned their loyalty.