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Arab parties to determine Israeli government

Head of Ra’am Party Mansour Abbas and members of the Arab Joint List now have the power to decide what the next government will look like.
Israeli Arab politician, leader of the United Arab list, Mansour Abbas (C) attends consultations with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (L) on who might form the next coalition government, at the President's residence in Jerusalem, on April 5, 2021.

These are very turbulent times for the Arab political leadership in Israel. They are very historic times too. For the first time in Israel’s 73-year history, Arab Knesset members will likely have the final say on whether a government is formed and even on who will head such a government.

In the current Israeli parliament, there are 10 Knesset members representing Arab parties: The Joint List (a unified slate of predominantly Arab parties) has six (including one Jewish member), and the Ra’am Party headed by Mansour Abbas has four. The two parties are now in the enviable position of being courted more than any other party in the Knesset, but with this comes a number of principled dilemmas. And it goes without saying that there is the inevitable infighting over power and prestige that sends tremors throughout the Arab sector.

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