Bennett Capitulates To Ra’am’s Demands For The Negev

Two Bedouin women walk on a hill top in the Negev. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File); Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid (L), Yamina leader Naftali Bennett (C) and Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas sign a coalition agreement on June 2, 2021.

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In the wake of Ra’am’s threat on Sunday to refrain from participating in any Knesset votes or committee meetings, the government caved in to the party’s demand regarding the Bedouin Authority.

One of Ra’am’s demands in the coalition agreement was the transfer of the Bedouin Authority from the Prime Minister’s Office to the Ministry of Labor, Welfare and Social Services, where Ra’am has influence. The deal called for the issue to be addressed at a later date but Ra’am’s threat moved the issue to the top of the agenda and government ministers approved the transfer by a phone vote on Sunday afternoon.

Following the decision, the Bedouin Authority announced the revocation of six demolition orders on illegal Bedouin houses in the Negev.

“The extortionist demand that the Israeli government must dance to Ra’am’s tune endangers the Negev and the entire State of Israel,” wrote the director of Regavim, a movement dedicated to the protection of Israel’s national lands and resources. “It’s inconceivable that the government’s policy in the Negev, which is at a crucial juncture, will be dictated by the Islamic Movement’s blackmail.

“The ultimatum came in the afternoon and within two hours came the capitulation,” wrote maverick Yamina MK Amichai Chikli. “First the Interior Ministry and the now the Bedouin Authority has been transferred to the hands of Ra’am. We regretted giving up governance in the Negev. We never imagined that the situation would grow even worse and its governance would be handed over the Islamic Movement.”

“It’s not surprising that Bennett agrees to everything, that’s how it is when you have no public support,” said Likud MK Miki Zohar. “As long as Bennett is prime minister, the state of Israel will move backward in all parameters – security, economy, and social issues.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)