NGO chair says coalition kingmaker Mansour Abbas and his Ra’am party present themselves as fighting to elevate Israel’s Arab communities but are beholden their Islamic Movement advisors.
By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News
On the heels of a new report about a cleric from the highly influential Islamic Movement, which effectively controls coalition kingmaker Mansour Abbas and his Ra’am party, describing Arab riots in Israel as part of a “holy war,” the chair of a right-wing NGO is warning that “civil jihad” is already here.
Maor Tzemach, who heads Your Jerusalem, an organization advocating for strengthening Israeli sovereignty in the Jewish State’s capital as well as its southern and northern peripheral regions, told World Israel News that the comments from the cleric come as no surprise.
While Abbas has long tried to cast himself as an Arab partner for coexistence whose primary concern is securing expanded government funding for Israel’s Arab communities, Tzemach said that the links between the Ra’am party and Islamic Movement are far more than coincidental.
Spiritual advisors or policy makers?
Abbas, who sought the permission of Islamic Movement leaders before agreeing to sign a historic coalition agreement with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, chair of the right-wing Yamina party, and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, is not merely beholden to the Islamic group, Tzemach said. Rather, he is actively working towards their ultimate goal – a Palestinian state in present day Israel – under the guise of policies that present themselves as promoting equity for Arab citizens.
Tzemach said that Abbas has openly told supporters and advisors that his role in the Israeli government is to promote “civil jihad.”
“In July 2021, Mansour Abbas said during a speech made to members of the Islamic Movement that ‘right now, it’s impossible to pick up weapons and go to war, it’s impossible to [engage in violent] jihad. So our movement is doing civil jihad,’” Tzemach told WIN.
“Since the establishment of the Israeli government in which Mansour Abbas is a senior member, we’re seeing this ‘civil jihad,’ a Holy War aimed at hurting Israel as a Jewish state, [carried out by] Ra’am, the Islamic Movement, and their associates,” he continued.
“An example is the Electricity Law, in which Israel agreed to connect illegally built Arab homes to the national power grid. By effectively ‘legalizing’ these tens of thousands of homes.. they weakened the Jewish and Israeli fabric of the state, of the Negev…it’s part of Abbas’ ‘civil jihad,’ and this is how they’re conquering us from the inside.”
More real-world examples of civil jihad include “the Bedouin riots, the moves to seize as much land as possible in the Negev,” which Tzemach said are carried out “on the orders of the Islamic Movement.”
Generous resources and little oversight
The record 50 billion shekels ($15.6 million) allocated to the Ra’am party from the Israeli national budget also poses a major threat. Tzemach said that the funding is “distributed by Mansour Abbas, to whoever or whatever [groups] he wants, according to his interests – which are, of course, [those] promoting civil jihad.”
Tzemach said that Ra’am’s party has done an excellent job in “winning over the hearts” of some members of the Israeli public, who believe the group is focused on social causes and elevating the status of the Arab community in Israel.
But Abbas’ advisors from the Islamic Movement and the Ra’am party who aren’t engaging with the public “don’t hide their intentions, which is to transform Israel into a state for all her citizens, and from there, into a Palestinian state which will, of course, be an extreme Islamic state, purged of all Jewish identity.”
Your Jerusalem will continue closely following Islamic Movement activities, Tzemach said.