Members“Assyria Sets Up New King Over Israel”

How Israel’s Arab parties decided who will be the nation’s prime minister

Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

This would have been the headline in the Bible to describe Israel’s new government poised to be sworn in next week. In order to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the “Coalition of Change” headed by Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett needed Ra’am, the political wing of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement, to cobble together a 61-seat majority necessary to set up a government. In the end, it was Ra’am that decided who would be Israel’s next prime minister.

Ironically, it was Netanyahu himself that first crossed that red line and began coalition talks with Ra’am after realizing he could not set up a government without the Islamic Movement’s support.

Negotiating at such high levels with an independent Arab party to decide who will be prime minister of Israel represents a new reality for the Jewish democracy. Never before has an independent Arab party joined a governing coalition. The entire affair brings back memories of a simpler time not long ago when Arab politics and politicians would...

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