The head of the Arab party that holds key to forming government on Sunday met with Opposition Leader Yair Lapid and allegedly presented him with a long list of demands, which include scrapping Nation-State Law and having freedom to vote on pro-LGBT bills.
The Ra'am party, headed by Mansour Abbas, has emerged as unlikely kingmaker following Tuesday's elections, with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yesh Atid head Lapid lacking a handful of Knesset seats to form a coalition government.
Some hardlines in the pro-Netanyahu bloc, however, have already said they will not join a coalition reliant on an Arab party.
Abbas, whose party won four Knesset seats, met with Lapid after multiple postponements and the two apparently agreed to hold another meeting in the coming days.
A political sources told Ynet that Abbas put forward a list of demands as his condition for joining the Lapid-led centrist coalition, having met with Likud officials a day earlier and realizing that being part of a right-wing government may not be a viable option.
The source said his demands include: freedom of vote on LGBT issues, recognition of Bedouin villages in the Negev, nixing of Nation-State Law and a concrete plan on how to eradicate violent crime in the Arab sector.
Abbas also apparently demanded scrapping the Kaminitz Law, which promotes demolitions of illegal homes in the Arab communities without providing alternatives.
"So far, there has been no progress in talks with Likud, and it will be very difficult for Abbas to reach agreements with Netanyahu because of [right-wing] parties that oppose Ra'am-backed government," the source said.
On Saturday, Abbas met with Likud MK Ayoob Kara in the village of Maghar, where the Ra'am leader lives. During the meeting, Abbas was overheard saying, "in the end there will be a stalemate. We cannot go right or left, we cannot go out to demonstrate, so what are we? Parliamentary tools and that's it?"
Following the meeting, Kara issued a statement, saying the opposition to Ra'am from within the Right stems from "misunderstanding".
"Netanyahu has taken tremendous steps in the past year to promote economic peace with the Arab world and for the first time he now aims to bring the Arab sector closer [to the general public]. This, in the wake of economic peace and the war on coronavirus. This was perceived very positively in the sector," Kara explained.