Islamist Ra’am party breaks off coalition talks in solidarity with Gaza

The decision by Abbas shows the difficulties of forming a government with parties that are ideologically opposed.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Islamist Ra’am party dropped a bombshell on Monday night, breaking off coalition talks because it said it couldn’t support a government that would “declare or back war against our people in Gaza.”

Naftali Bennett of the Yemina party and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid said they were surprised by the announcement and that they hadn’t heard from Ra’am’s leader Mahmoud Abbas about the sudden change of heart, website Srugim reports.

A meeting scheduled between the three party leaders was cancelled on Monday evening. Ironically, it was rumored that meeting was to see the finalization of the coalition agreement.

The decision by Abbas shows the difficulties of forming a government with parties that are ideologically opposed. Many pundits and politicians, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself, have said such a government won’t last more than a few months. Ra’am’s announcement lends credence to these estimations.

Made up of disparate parties spanning from the left to the right ends of the political spectrum, not to mention anti-Zionist Arab parties, the coalition’s only unifier is its desire to unseat Netanyahu.

According to their official platforms, the parties hold radically different ideological views on almost every major issue, including the nature of the Jewish State.

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Religious Zionism MK Betzalel Smotrich called upon Bennett and New Hope party chair Gideon Sa’ar to form an emergency right-wing government with his party, Likud, and the haredi parties, on Monday.

“Put everything aside and let’s form an emergency government of the national camp today,” Smotrich tweeted. “Everything else can wait.”

The Islamist party, for its part, says it won’t return to coalition negotiations until the security situation calms.

Hundreds of rockets have been launched at Israel since Monday evening, mostly targeting the region’s south. On Tuesday evening, however, central Israel was targeted. Those who lived through the 2014 war, which saw Tel Aviv targeted, said the current attack was much worse.