Israeli Islamist party Ra'am considers quitting coalition

Israeli Islamist party Ra'am considers quitting coalition

Palestinians face Israeli border police as they patrol the area in front of the Lion's Gate in Jerusalem's Old City on April 17, 2022. AHMAD GHARABLI AFP JERUSALEM - Israel's Islamic party of Ra'am said Sunday that it considered quitting the coalition government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to protest the police actions at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

According to Mansour Abbas, chairman of the Ra'am partyRa'am party, told Israeli-Arab A-Shams Radio that his party, which has four seats in the 60 seat coalition, was considering resigning in protest of the police actions at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, which has injured and arrested hundreds of Palestinians over the past three days during the clashes.

Abbas said that there isn't political consideration in the matter of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and that is a red line for us, including at the cost of the stability of the coalition. Israel's state-owned Kan TV news reported that Ra'am was calling a special meeting later the day on a proposal to leave the coalition.

In a letter to Bennett, Mazen Ghnaim, a Ra'am party member, said if the security forces' activity in the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque is not halted immediately, I consider myself not part of the coalition. The remarks sparked further tensions within the coalition that ended the rule of Israel's longest-serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2021.

Israel's Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai told Kan Bet Radio that the security forces should not compromise the security of Jewish visitors at the holy site in order to maintain the coalition at all costs. Bennett's coalition lost its majority a week and a half ago after a lawmaker with Bennett's right-wing Yamina party left the party and joined Netanyahu's Likud, Bennett's predecessor and main political rival.

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The move, less than a year after the inauguration of the new government, threw the coalition into disarray. The coalition is currently governing with only 60 seats in the 120 seat parliament.

If Ra'am leaves the coalition, it could spark a new round of elections.