Arab lawmakers in Israel endorse Gantz for PM

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The Arab bloc in Israel’s parliament has endorsed Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz for prime minister.

With that nod, Gantz looks to edge by incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu in the number of lawmakers who will endorse him.

Representatives of the Joint List of Arab parties told President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday that they recommend the former military chief.

This is the first time since 1992 that Arab parties have endorsed a candidate for prime minister.

Israel’s largely ceremonial president is tasked with picking the politician with the best chance of forming a stable coalition government. While usually a formality, this time Rivlin plays a key role after an election earlier this month in which neither of the top candidates has an outright majority of 61 members of the 120-seat parliament.

In a related development, Israeli ex-defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he will not endorse either Benjamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz for prime minister following last week’s deadlocked elections.

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