בצלאל סמוטריץ באולפן ynet
Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel Smotrich at the Ynet studio
Photo: Hadar Yoavian
Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel Smotrich at the Ynet studio

Religious Zionist Party leader rules out Ra'am-backed coalition

Bezalel Smotrich slams voices on the right, calling to cooperate with the Islamist party as 'irresponsible', calls on Bennett, Saar to 'put their personal differences aside' and form a right-wing government under Netanyahu

Ynet |
Published: 03.25.21 , 11:56
Religious Zionist Party head Bezalel Smotrich on Thursday ruled out the possibility of establishing a right-wing government backed by the Islamist Ra'am party, which has emerged as an unlikely kingmaker following the fourth elections in two years.
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  • Ra'am splintered from the predominately Arab Joint List alliance in the run-up to the elections for the 24th Knesset, after its leader Mansour Abbas developed close ties with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau and said he will not rule out joining his coalition.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    בצלאל סמוטריץ באולפן ynet
    בצלאל סמוטריץ באולפן ynet
    Religious Zionism head MK Bezalel Smotrich at the Ynet studio
    (Photo: Hadar Yoavian)
    "There won't be a right-wing government backed by Mansour Abbas' Ra'am. Period. Not from within. Not from the outside, not through abstaining, and not through any other scheme," Smotrich wrote on his Facebook page.
    He then went on to slam voices on the right that called for cooperation with Ra'am, labeling them as "irresponsible."
    Most right-wing lawmakers have been reluctant to consider the Arab party as a potential coalition partner since it does not recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
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    מנסור עבאס
    מנסור עבאס
    Ra'am Chairman Mansour Abbas speaks to supporters after exit polls revealed
    (Photo: Elad Gershgorn)
    However, some prominent right-wing lawmakers, such as Likud MKs Miki Zohar and Tzachi Hanegbi, hinted at possible cooperation with Abbas in case Netanyahu's attempts at establishing a viable coalition government with center-right figures won't pan out.
    Smotrich also called on right-wing premiership hopefuls Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and New Hope head Gideon Saar to "put their personal differences aside" and form a right-wing government under the Likud chairman.
    Both Bennett and Saar have put themselves forward as potential replacements for Israel's longest-serving prime minister and de-facto leader of Israel's right-wing. This scenario now seems unlikely as their parties only managed to garner a single-digit number of seats in the upcoming Knesset according to latest results.
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    גדעון סער נפתלי בנט
    גדעון סער נפתלי בנט
    Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and New Hope head Gideon Saar
    (Photo: Kobi Koankes)
    Bennett for his part remains ambiguous about the possibility of sitting in a government under Netanyahu, refusing to rule out establishing a coalition without the premier.
    Saar, on the other hand, a friend-turned-foe of Netanyahu, ran his election campaign on the promise he won't cooperate with his erstwhile boss under any circumstance and even snubbed attempts by Netanyahu's associates to court him Wednesday evening.
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