Marking significant progress in government talks, Yamina chief agrees to honor Abbas’ list of demands, including heading prominent Knesset committees, allocating budgets to tackle issues bedeviling Arab sector; meeting with Lapid slated for Tuesday

The Islamist Ra’am party has reportedly agreed Sunday night to back a unity government led by Yamina and Yesh Atid chiefs Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid but will not be part of it.

In return, the government will honor a list of demands Ra’am tabled to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party when it was in possession of the government mandate, including the chairmanship of prominent Knesset committees and allocation of budgets aiming to tackle the issues bedeviling Israel’s Arab sector, such crumbling infrastructure and high rates of poverty and crime.

יאיר לפיד נפתלי בנט מנסור עבאס
Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid, Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Elad Gutman, Yaron Brenner)


Bennett and Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas met on Monday at the right-wing lawmaker’s office in Ra’anana in their second meeting in two weeks, at the end of which both parties reported significant progress in the talks.

Abbas is reportedly also interested in forming a government as fast as possible and his party will actively support it — meaning it would vote for the government to be formed rather than abstain as was planned under Netanyahu.

The two are slated to meet with Lapid on Tuesday to hammer out further details of the budding agreement.

In the meantime, the emerging government’s parties have yet to agree on the distribution of ministerial portfolios, but it is estimated that the gaps are relatively small and could be bridged quite easily.

ישראל אייכלר, ו מאיר פרוש
United Torah Judaism MKs Yisrael Eichler and Meir Porush (Photo: Amit Shabi, AP)


Earlier on Sunday, two ultra-Orthodox lawmakers urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to step down from his position for 18 months and allow another right-wing lawmaker to serve as premier first to “unite the right-wing bloc’s 65 MKs.”

United Torah Judaism MKs Meir Porush and Yisrael Eichler said that Netanyahu will be under a power-sharing agreement with said lawmaker.

Nevertheless, Porush and Eichler added they have “no desire” for another election, the fifth in just over two years, predicting a loss for Netanyahu’s right-wing-religious bloc.

As reported by Ynetnews