Ra’am party chairman already in talks with Netanyahu’s opposition, source says

Ra’am became the center of the country’s election drama overnight when it secured enough votes to enter the Knesset.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

In an indication of where the winds blow, a source close to the Ra’am party told Kan News that contacts between party chairman Mansour Abbas and opposition leader Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid party have already begun.

The source says there will be a meeting between the two in the coming days and they will discuss the possibility of reaching an agreement. Abbas isn’t ready to reveal whether he intends to join the anti-Netanyahu bloc or the pro-Netanyahu block, according to the source.

Ra’am became the center of the country’s election drama overnight into Wednesday when it secured enough votes to enter the Knesset after having been counted out in early exit polls.

“We went through a long night, we started with unflattering samples but we knew the results would be different. We will wait for the true results and know where we stand,” Ra’am party Chairman Abbas said.

The news changes everything, spoiling Likud’s predicted victory and again throwing Israel into political deadlock.

Despite the report that Abbas will meet with Lapid, it’s far from clear what the Ra’am party leader will do. There have been many reports prior to Tuesday’s elections that Abbas and Netanyahu were drawing closer with the possibility of Abbas supporting the prime minister.

Ra’am is an Islamist party. It supports a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

However, Ra’am recently argued for a new approach toward Israel’s government, calling for putting Israeli-Arab constituents first over Arab nationalist aims. The dispute over this approach is reportedly what caused Ra’am’s split from the larger Arab Joint List before the elections.

Abbas told Channel 12 on Wednesday, “We will not be in anyone’s pocket, we want to be partners in government – but we will not sit with anyone who will disqualify us.”