The past days have been tense ones for the coalition of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett as it awaited the verdict of the Shura Council regarding the continued membership of Ra’am in its ranks. Ra’am froze its membership in the coalition weeks ago over Israel’s “actions at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
Coalition members breathed huge sighs of relief after Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas announced early Wednesday afternoon that he is ending the party’s freeze of its membership in the coalition and will vote against the dissolution of the Knesset, after his demands were met by coalition heads.
During his announcement, Abbas excoriated the Arab Joint List party, who had stated earlier that they will vote in favor of dispersing the Knesset. The Likud party was planning on submitting a bill on Wednesday evening to dissolve the Knesset but is expected to pull the bill following Ra’am’s announcement.
Abbas was scheduled to make his announcement early Wednesday morning but following the death of Al-Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh by Palestinian terrorists, which was falsely blamed on Israel, Abbas canceled the press briefing, calling Abu Akleh a “martyr” and demanding an international commission of inquiry into her death.
“We think it’s a terrible mistake to go to elections that Netanyahu will most likely win and we’ll lose our achievements,” Abbas said at the press conference, adding that he joined the government in order to benefit Arab citizens.
The coalition’s fate still hangs in the balance as it lacks a majority even after Ra’am renewed its membership. Its only path forward is to hope to win the support of the Arab Joint List for at least some of its bills. Following Ra’am’s announcement, Yair Lapid wasted no time advancing his agenda, with a photo taken by Walla reporter Yaki Adamker in the Knesset showing him talking with Joint List leader Ayman Odeh.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)