‘We’ll stop the right’ – Islamist party to Arab voters ahead of Israel’s election

Caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid is apparently pinning his hopes on the Arab voters in order to win the national election.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

MK Mansour Abbas, head of the Islamist Ra’am party, urged Arab voters to cast a ballot for his faction in a last-minute push before the national elections, pledging that he would work to stop the influence of “far-right” politicians in the next government.

“By voting for Ra’am, each of you can achieve two goals, or as the saying goes, two birds with one stone, and they are to place the Arabs in the coalition and to place the extreme right in the opposition,” Abbas said in an Arabic language video released by his party, according to a translation from Arutz Sheva.

“Vote for us so that the Arabs will be in a decision-making position and the extreme right [will be stuck] in the opposition,” he continued.

“I am certainly aware that most members of our (Arab) society want the extreme right to remain in the opposition, just as Ra’am put it on the opposition benches last year…The vast majority of members of our (Arab) society know that the parties that join the coalition are the parties that take part in decision-making and have influence and the ability to present solutions.”

Read  Netanyahu dismisses critique over judicial reform: ‘We received a clear mandate’

The Ra’am party made history in 2021 when it became the first Arab party to officially join an Israeli government coalition, led by former prime minister Naftali Bennett.

Bennett’s decision to partner with the Islamist party, which is rumored to have ties to the Hamas terror group, immediately sparked controversy. Protests broke out around the residences of Bennett and his party number two, Ayelet Shaked, as voters accused their right-wing Yamina party of betraying their voter base.

Although former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu originally denied that he had entered intense negotiations with Ra’am, which would see the party support a Likud-led coalition from the outside, the talks were seemingly confirmed by a leaked recording from Religious Zionism chair Betzalel Smotrich.

Abbas has repeatedly said that Netanyahu had offered his party a budget of some 15 billion shekels ($4.2 billion) for the Arab community had agreed to support him.

Meanwhile, it appears that caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid is pinning his hopes for a victory on the Arab population. Last Tuesday, he visited the predominantly Arab, northern-Israeli city of Nazareth, where he met with some 20 municipal leaders and urged them to vote. Reports had indicated a lack of enthusiasm among the Arab population to participate in this week’s elections.