Israel's Arab parties are set to be the largest non-ruling bloc in parliament - and could even lead the opposition - if a national unity government emerges from Tuesday's election.
A surge in turnout gave the Arab-dominated Joint List 13 of the Knesset's 120 seats, making it the third-largest grouping behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, with 31 seats, and Benny Gantz's centrist Blue and White, with 33.
That would make the Joint List the largest opposition grouping in parliament if a unity government takes shape, a realistic possibility even though Gantz rebuffed Netanyahu's initial invitation.
No party drawn from the 21 percent Arab minority has ever been part of an Israeli government. But if Joint List head Ayman Odeh, 44, becomes opposition leader, he would receive monthly briefings from the Mossad intelligence agency and meet visiting heads of state, among ...