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Israeli Arab politicians now part of the game for composing next government

After years of being sidelined, Arab politicians are being courted by parties from both the right and the left as they try to convince them to join a coalition.
Mansour Abbas (C), head of Israel's conservative Islamic Raam party, speaks to supporters during a political gathering to congratulate him on the electoral victory in the northern Israeli village of Maghar on March 26, 2021.

The attempt to form a government by the bloc opposed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become a Twitter war between Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and New Hope Chairman Gideon Saar. President Reuven Rivlin is expected to start consultations with heads of the different parties on April 5 to decide who will be tasked with composing the next government. Evidently, the two men will have to make up their minds by then. The same is true for Yamina leader Naftali Bennett.

But while the struggle continues over who will lead the "change camp," as it is now dubbed, other elements could become decisive for the formation of the next coalition. Head of the Islamic Raam Party Mansour Abbas is expected to make a public address on either April 1 or April 2. Channel 12 reported that Abbas will call for reconciliation, for the Arab public to reach out to the Jewish one, and for seizing the opportunity for coalition cooperation. What would this mean politically? Will Abbas declare joining one of the two camps? That is still unclear. Abbas is playing his cards close to his chest.

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