The second round of elections held last week left both Blue and White headed by Benny Gantz and Likud headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggling to form a coalition. The third-largest party, the Joint Arab List, found itself in a position of unprecedented and disproportionate power with the ability to make or break any attempt by either side to form a government.
This situation materialized in a bizarre form on Sunday when members of the Joint Arab List arrived at the President’s Residence to submit their letter of intent to support a recommendation for Benny Gantz to form a government. This was the first time the Arab parties expressed support for an Israeli candidate since Yitzhak Rabin in 1992.
It is interesting to note that the letter, signed by Ahmad Tibi, the head of the party, contained the header בס”ד (BSD) which is the acronym for “B’Siyata D’Shmaya”, an Aramaic expression meaning “with heaven’s help” which is similar in intent to the English expression, ‘God-willing.’ The three letters are routinely used as headers for any written document by religious Jews.
Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab-dominated Hadash party told President Reuven Rivlin, “The majority of the Israeli public said its desire. Most of the Israeli public just said anything but Netanyahu. They said they want an end to the era of Netanyahu.”
Even more surprising was when Odeh tweeted a verse from Psalms.
אבן מאסו הבונים היתה לראש פנה. (תהילים קי”ח)
— Ayman Odeh (@AyOdeh) September 22, 2019
The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. Psalms 118:22
It is assumed that, unlike King David who wrote the Psalm, Odeh’s intent was that the Arabs, who consider themselves to be a “rejected” demographic in Israeli society, find themselves in a “cornerstone” position in Israeli politics.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston noted that when a Muslim Arab quoted Jewish Psalms, it was clearly “hashgacha pratit” (divine intervention) and needed to be understood.
“When there is no prophecy in Israel, God talks to the Jews through the non-Jews,” Rabbi Winston told Breaking Israel News. “King David wrote this verse about the building of malchut (dynasty). King David was saying that the Lord works in mysterious ways when it comes to the power structure of Israel. When the Jews do what they are supposed to and earn the merit, we are given the power to rule ourselves.”
“But when we don’t, the rules of nature that we take for granted are set aside and God has to work through back door means,” Rabbi Winston said. “And when the geula (redemption) is coming closer, God has to disguise what is happening to confuse the dark side and make it seem as if the geula is moving further away.”
“Odeh thinks that he is saying that God chose the Arabs over the Jews,” Rabbi Winston said. “But Odeh is actually being used to send a message to the Jewish people in a way that is so bizarre that we should definitely sit up and take notice.”
“We are totally capable of establishing a government without the Arabs but we are about to miss our opportunity. The Jewish leaders should be saying what Odeh said; that we are about to establish our own government. God put redemption in our hands and we are taking it for granted, messing around with it. We are so embedded in geulah and we deal with it like we are still in exile.”
“Odeh was sent as a messenger to tell us to wake up, stop messing around, and build the Davidic Dynasty,” Rabbi Winston concluded.
When addressing President Rivlin about his party’s support for Gantz, Tibi complained about Netanyahu treating the Arabs as second-class citizens.
“Some people think we are the backyard of the State of Israel,” Tibi told Rivlin. “We are not a backyard, we are not present absentees, we are not guests, we are the owners of this land. Not residents of this country, we did not immigrate here, we were born here, we are a native population, and this native population sent us to make a change.”
Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, an expert in Torah codes, noted that it was precisely for this reason that the Arab parties are supporting the left-wing coalition and Benny Gantz.
“God gave the land to the Jews but with conditions,” Rabbi Glazerson said in a recent video. “The Jews must keep the Torah. We cannot desecrate the Shabbat, which is what the leftists want to make possible by law. So they [the left-wing] will answer to [Tibi] because he is right when he says that the Arabs did not migrate to Israel. Without the Torah, Tibi’s challenge to be leader is very strong. Tibi can even be prime minister. And Gantz is going to them for support.”
“What will you answer without the Torah?” Rabbi Glazerson asked.
NOTE: Balad, one of the parties in the Joint Arab List announced on Monday that it is retracting its support for Benny Gantz and the Blue and White Party. This was supported by a statement from Ahmad Tibi, chairman of the Joint Arab List. Without Balad’s three seats, Prime Likud is in the lead, with a total of 55 seats from party recommendations as compared to Gantz’s 54. Soon after Balad released this statement, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh said the recommendation is still in the name of all 13 MKs.
A spokesman from the President’s office said they plan to examine “whether there is legal standing to MK Tibi’s message that the Joint List’s recommendation for Benny Gantz to form the government does not include the three Balad MKs or that the count is up to the president’s judgment.”