Ben Caspit speaks this week with Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi, who currently serves as senior Middle East researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Commenting on the unprecedented decision by the head of the Islamic Ra’am party Mansour Abbas last May to join the ruling coalition, Halevi says that from Abbas’ perspective, this decision legitimizes Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. "Analyzing Abbas’ statements over the last decade, one can see he is guided by two principles, pragmatism and Islamism," says Halevi. Abbas had said very clearly, even after joining the coalition, that he bases his political agenda on Islam. Inspired by Prophet Muhammed, Abbas, he argues, also strived to create an alliance with the Jews.