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Coalition lives to see another day as Islamist party decides it will stay in the government

Mansour Abbas says his Ra'am party will not vote with the opposition for the dispersion of the Knesset

Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas speaks at a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, May 11, 2022. (Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

The head of the Islamist party Ra’am – which is a key component of Israel’s governing coalition – said today it would vote against a bill to dissolve the Knesset thereby throwing a much-needed life line to a government whose fate is on shaky ground.

“We entered the coalition to provide a solution to the many hardships of Arab society: housing, the cost of living, the local authorities and of course the hardships of the Negev and the unrecognized localities,” Mansour Abbas explained. “Therefore, Ra’am has decided to give the coalition another chance.”

At a press conference on Wednesday at the Knesset, Abbas said his party would resume membership in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's coalition which is had frozen in connection with clashes between Muslims and Israelis police on the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. 

“We reached understandings for the betterment of Arab society and Israelis in general,” he said. "We decided to come back and give an opportunity for the coalition agreements to be implemented.”

During Abbas’ remarks, right-wing Knesset Member Itamar Ben Gvir interrupted, shouting condemnation to Ra’am party members, according to a report in Israel's Channel 12 news.

Ra’am members shouted back at him: “You are the greatest danger to the State of Israel. A fascist.”

Ra'am's four seats were crucial to the embattled government's survival. The governing coalition is a patchwork of various parties ranging from far right to far left and including the four of seats of the Islamist Ra’am party, which is affiliated with the pan-Arab Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Without a majority after the defection of one of its members last month, the Bennett coalition returned to work this week after spring recess in a weakened state under threat of dispersion and a no confidence vote. Abbas' pledge to stick in the government enables the coalition to survive.

At least for now.

Nicole Jansezian is the news editor for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and senior correspondent for ALL ISRAEL NEWS

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