JERUSALEM (AP) — After a hard-fought election, an Arab Islamist could choose Israel’s next prime minister.
You read that correctly.
Tuesday’s elections have left a razor-thin margin between a right-wing coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a diverse array of parties bent on ousting him.
To prevail, each side may need the support of an Arab Islamist party that appears to have clinched just five seats in the 120-member Knesset but is not committed to either, according to near-final results.
That means the United Arab List, known by the Hebrew name Ra’am, could decide whether Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, remains in office.
It’s an odd predicament for Netanyahu, who rose to power by rejecting compromise with the Palestinians and has used racist rhetoric in past campaigns to cast the country’s Arab minority as a fifth column of terrorist sympathizers.