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Israel Ra'am leader tries to keep party together as coalition collapses

Faced with rebel legislator Mazen Ghnaim, Muslim party Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas opted for dialogue instead of confrontation.
Mansour Abbas, head of Israel's conservative Islamic Ra'am party, speaks in his capacity as Knesset deputy speaker during a plenum session on the state budget, Jerusalem, Sept. 2, 2021.

“We will not give up until the very last moment. We will try until then to prevent the Knesset from being dissolved. I think that we can find a solution, which will enable us to continue functioning,” said Mansour Abbas, leader of the Ra’am party, in a June 19 interview with the Walla news site.

Evidently, Abbas was trying to relay a sense of optimism and to convince his listeners that the coalition could get through the endless series of crises it has faced over the last few weeks. These included the April 6 announcement by Knesset member Idit Silman of Yamina that she was leaving the coalition, the May 19 refusal of Knesset members Mazen Ghnaim of Ra’am and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi of Meretz to support the extension of the emergency regulations applying Israeli law to West Bank settlements and the announcement by Knesset member Nir Orbach of Yamina, a close confidant of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, that he no longer considers himself a member of the coalition.

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