Israeli gov’t coalition crisis averted, rebel lawmaker returns to the fold

‘Because I want to bring achievements to meet the needs of Arab society, I will support the coalition,’ Zoabi said.

By TPS and World Israel News Staff

Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi has reached an understanding with the leadership of Israel’s coalition government and proclaimed the reversal of her decision to quit the coalition, thus averting another crisis for Naftali Bennett’s beleaguered government.

Last week, Zoabi announced that she would decline an ambassadorial post that she had been offered and remain in the Knesset, but leave the Meretz party faction.

On Sunday, however, she held a meeting with Foreign Minister and alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, where the MK was given certain assurances regarding government policies towards the Arab community. The specifics were not revealed.

The decision to return to the coalition was influenced by her belief that a different government, led by the right wing and including Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, would be much worse, according to her ideology.

“Because I want to bring achievements to meet the needs of Arab society, I will support the coalition,” Zoabi said. “But I also want this government to be true and listen to Arab society and its needs in health care, education, housing and infrastructure.”

While Lapid and Rinawie Zoabi offered no details regarding their meeting, several mayors who were present told Times of Israel that they hope that the “hundreds of millions” of shekels in stuck funding will be released to Arab municipalities.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the news, saying that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid “would do anything to survive politically.”

“They are willing to pay huge sums from taxpayer funds to the haters of Israel and terror supporters,” in order to maintain the coalition, he charged.

Yair Lapid tweeted, “Happy for the return of MK Ghaida Zoabi.”

“We had an open and considered dialogue,” said Lapid, “about the real needs of Arab society, together with the heads of the authorities – whom I thank for coming and enlisting. We have put this debate behind us, and together we return to the work of the government and the coalition.”