Likud Pulls Bill for Dissolving Knesset after Ra’am Decides to Give Coalition a Chance
On Wednesday, the Likud party decided to pull its bill for dissolving the Knesset after the announcement of Mansour Abbas, the chief of the Ra’am party, that their party would be returning to the coalition and fulfilling their related obligations. The coalition is now back to its 60-seat membership in the Knesset with Ra’am’s four MKs. This foiled the attempt of the opposition to pass a preliminary reading of a bill on Wednesday for dissolving the Knesset and forcing new elections. If the opposition had introduced the measure and failed to follow it through, they would not have been able to repeat the same for another six months.
There had been a great deal of speculation about the plans of the Ra’am party, after they had frozen their membership of the coalition for three weeks. Mansour Abbas said that along with the Islamic Movement and the Shura Council, Ra’am had decided to give the coalition another chance. On Tuesday night, they had conducted a marathon meeting of the Shura Council that offers guidance to the party. Abbas was flanked by the three other MKs that are part of the Knesset and asserted that his party does not want another election.
Speaking to the journalists who were gathered outside of the Knesset office of the prime minister, Ra’am said that starting another election cycle was a mistake because it would bring back Netanyahu and reverse all the issues they had worked on. The Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the security record of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the loyalty of Mansour Abbas, after his announcement of returning to the coalition. The statement questioned what Bennett had sold to Mansour Abbas to ensure the survival of his submissive and weak government.
It further referred to the vacation that Abbas had taken to Turkey last week and questioned what he had heard back there. It said that a government couldn’t fight terrorism if it depends on those who support terrorism. Ra’am is often called the ‘terror supporters’ by right-wing members of the opposition party. Similar criticism was delivered by ItamarBen Gvir, the far-right MK, who stormed in the middle of Mansour Abbas’ press conference. In fact, it resulted in a shouting match between him and the four MKs of the Ra’am party that continued for a few minutes. Ben Gvir said that Israel was home to the Jews and not them.
MK WalidTahasaid that they were the greatest danger to the state. Knesset security had to drag Ben Gvir out. In the previous week, Ra’am has not done well in polls, as it did not reach the minimum threshold necessary for entering the Knesset. However, the bigger problem for Abbas is the division within the party that has gotten worse because of the tensions occurring on the Temple Mount at Jerusalem. Ra’am’s decision to join an Israeli coalition is a first for an Islamist and independent Arab party, as they had to set aside the cause of the Palestinians to do so.