Israel’s Arab list party pushes Gantz ahead of Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens as President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. The White House said the two leaders would discuss negotiations with the Palestinians, developments in Syria and Iran. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Israel’s Arab-dominated Joint List party on Sunday backed Benny Gantz to form a new government, making Gantz’s bloc of supporters larger than that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, though still neither commanded a majority.

The Joint List, according to near final results, won 13 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, making it the third-largest grouping.

With their support Gantz heads a center-left bloc of 57 seats compared to Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc of 55.

Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose party secured eight seats, has yet to back Gantz or Netanyahu.