MembersDawn of a New Era in Israeli Politics

While Mansour Abbas has upset the traditional balance, Netanyahu’s critical mistake is creating unlikely alignments

Israeli politics will never be the same
Photo: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90

The circus act surrounding the strenuous efforts to form a governing coalition in Israel has created new and seemingly surprising political partnerships between Arab and Jewish factions.

Ra’am, the political wing of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, has been one of the most intriguing parties coming out of the latest election. Its leader, Mansour Abbas, has left commentators and observers puzzled, fishing for motives explaining his change of heart and decision not to remain on the sidelines of politics, but rather, to become a deciding factor in the election’s aftermath. Abbas has dramatically changed the “rules of the game” for Arab involvement in mainstream Zionist politics in Israel.

This turn of events began in a manner that seemed to be beneficial to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Prior to the last election, for the first time, there was increasing parliamentary cooperation between Ra’am and the Likud party. These parties could not be more opposite. Ra’am rests on Islamic ideology and values, seeks to end the Jewish presence in Judea...

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