Top Likud MK and coalition chairman said Wednesday he doesn't rule out a partnership with an Arab party as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggles to form a coalition following the fourth election in less than two years.
The head of small Islamist Ra'am party, Mansour Abbas, has emerged as an unlikely kingmaker as neither political bloc appears as it can form a government.
Miki Zohar told Ynet that Likud should do everything in its power to avoid another election.
"It is our duty to do everything we can to prevent a fifth election," Zohar said. “All the existing political options must be exhausted in order to form a government that will work for all the citizens of Israel, because that is what’s important for our country at the moment."
Zohar’s statement came despite Netanyahu's past promises that his party would rely neither on the Arab faction nor on its leader, Mansour Abbas, to form a government, even if his bloc was short of seats.
“I will not lean on [Ra’am] or include them… Because they are an anti-Zionist party,” said Netanyahu. “[Abbas] voted against the [Abraham Accords], it's just unbelievable. I will not offer them a partnership or support, nothing.”
Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi also hinted at a possible partnership with the Islamist party, if the deal with Yamina leader Naftali Bennett does not pan out.
"This opens the door to options that are currently undesirable but may be better than fifth elections,” said Hanegbi. “One of them is of course that Mansour Abbas will do what he promised throughout his campaign - support any coalition that drafts a plan to address his sector's problems."
Likud MK Shlomo Karai, however, brushed off suggestions on his colleagues that forming a government with Ra'am is a viable option.
“No way. The prime minister said very explicitly, a right-wing government under his leadership will not lean on those who have no place in the Israeli parliament, who do not recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state,” he said.
"I am still waiting for the results,” Karai added. "But even if we don’t get the necessary 61 seats, I suppose we will find someone with enough national responsibility who will not want to drag us to a fifth election round."