Ra’am head says entire party committed to gov’t after MK abstains on key vote


Mansour Abbas promises Said al-Harumi will not be a rebel going forward, says he’d have voted in favor of the coalition if his yes vote had been necessary for confirmation

Ra’am MK Said al-Harumi at the Knesset, June 13, 2021

Stuart Winer  and TOI Staff report on 14 June 2021:

Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas insisted Monday that his entire four-seat faction is a part of the new coalition, despite one of its members having abstained from the critical confirmation vote the previous night in the Knesset.

With MK Said al-Harumi not casting a vote, parliament approved the government with a paper-thin majority of 60-59.

Israel’s 36th Government marks the first time that an Arab party is a vital part of a coalition.

Abbas on Monday said the MK’s choice to abstain Sunday was not representative of how he will vote going forward.

“All four [MKS] are in,” Abbas told Kan news. “He [al-Harumi] is in the coalition.”

Abbas explained that al-Harumi acted the way he did because there were still some final details to be ironed out regarding the Negev region in the south of the country, where there is a large Bedouin community.

However, Abbas said al-Harumi’s protest vote was coordinated in advance and that coalition leaders Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid had been aware of it. In addition, he said al-Harumi had been ready to back the government if there had been any chance it would not pass the vote.

Despite the incident, Abbas insisted that Ra’am’s position in the coalition was not “conditional” and that the party would not have signed an agreement to be in the government if that were the case.

“We want the government and did our bit for its establishment,” he said. “As far as we’re concerned there will be no crisis, but we expect that our partners show a positive approach towards the demands of Arab society.”

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