MembersDoes Israel’s Islamic Party Fit in a Right-Wing Coalition?

The Islamic party Ra’am and its leader Mansour Abbas are the talk of the day in Israel. Who would have ever thought that they would tip the scales in Israeli politics?

By Aviel Schneider | | Topics: Elections, Israeli Arabs
Islamic party chief Mansour Abbas
Ra'am party leader Mansour Abbas speaks during a press conference in Nazareth, April 1, 2021. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** בחירות בחירות 2021 מטה רע"ם מנסור עבאס Photo: David Cohen/Flash90

Both right-wing and left-wing politicians are currently courting the Arab party, which despite cautious forecasts won four Knesset seats in last month’s election.

The natural instinct would be to lump Mansour Abbas’ party, which broke away from the Joint Arab List, into the left-wing political spectrum. Jewish and Arab societies have gotten accustomed to the notion that Arab parties simply do not fit into any governing coalition. From a Jewish point of view, the Arab parties are fundamentally anti-Israel and cannot be relied upon. They give the impression that they are committed first and foremost to the Palestinian nationalist struggle. For the Arab parties, on the other hand, the Israeli government is too Zionist, which has always been a political obstacle to joining a coalition. But now Mansour Abbas is shattering this political myth. Not only is he ready to join a coalition, but he is even signaling a willingness to join a right-wing coalition under ruling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

See: Mansour Abbas and Netanyahu: New Best Friends?

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