Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, June 2021

Government moves on Arab sector development after Ra'am threat

Sole Arab party in coalition had threatened to boycott all Knesset activity over what it saw as failure to advance key issues in agreement signed with Bennett, Lapid; bodies dealing with Bedouin community in Negev now part of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry

Moran Azulay |
Published: 07.12.21, 10:07
The government late Sunday approved the transfer of bodies pertaining to development in the Arab sector to the Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry, after lawmakers from Ra'am – the only Arab party in the coalition – threatened to derail the legislative process.
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  • The government said that the transfer involved the top department for socioeconomic development in the Bedouin community in the Negev Desert and the authority to develop Bedouin settlement in the Negev, both key issues for Ra'am.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    השבעת הממשלה
    השבעת הממשלה
    Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas in the Knesset, June 2021
    (Photo: AFP)
    The move was approved in a telephone vote after Ra'am MK Waleed Taha wrote on Twitter earlier in the day that he had informed the coalition that "Ra'am lawmakers will not take part in [Knesset] committee hearings or vote in plenum sessions until further notice!"
    "This is the implementation of coalition agreements signed before the formation of the government," the statement said.
    Taha said confirmed the changes shortly before midnight Sunday, saying that they would have a "significant" impact on the Arab community.
    “After a day of talks we reached consensus on the immediate implementation of a series of decisions from the coalition agreement with Ra'am, as well as other decisions related to Arab society. We will in the coming days witness significant decisions on a great number of issues related to Arab society," Taha said.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    מנסור עבאס
    מנסור עבאס
    Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas with party MKs at a campaign rally during the 2021 March election
    (Photo: Elad Gershgorn)
    Taha had not specified the reason for his threat, but it was seen as expression of Ra'am displeasure over what it saw as a lack of government progress on issues such as land rights and housing in the Arab sector, which were the rationale for the party joining the coalition put together by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
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