Islamist party leader says he will be “part of the coalition” as Lapid government deadline approaches – Election in Israel 2021

Joint List Chairman Mansour Abbas said on Tuesday he was “optimistic” about the chances of forming a new coalition, meeting with anti-Netanyahu bloc leaders in Kfar Maccabiah, central Israel.

Asked by reporters whether his party would be part of the ruling coalition or sit in the opposition, Abbas said he would “be part of the coalition”.

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Abbas, who has made greater involvement in Israeli politics a key election promise, also stressed the need to finalize the “good plans” that the negotiating teams have come up with for some pressing issues facing the Arab community.

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His Islamist party, which has split from the Joint List, is focused on finalizing deals with Yamina, including his number two, Ayelet Shaked.

Joint List Chairman Mansour Abbas met with MP Yamina Ayelet Shaked on Monday as part of negotiations for a coalition government led by Yamina President Naftali Bennett and Yesh leader Atid Yair Lapid.

Members of parties opposed to maintaining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s regime believe Abbas will support the formation of a Bennett-Lapid government if the Knesset is voted. Abbas has said on several occasions in recent weeks that he would consider supporting any coalition if it accepts his party’s demands.

Abbas wants funds earmarked for a program to boost education in the Arab community and fight organized crime, and to head a Knesset committee that would direct the money to him.

The sources also said he called for the revocation of a controversial 2017 law that made penalties for construction violations much tougher and has the greatest effect on Arab cities, where the planning process can take decades. He also asked to be appointed as one of the Knesset vice-presidents, the sources said, but did not ask for the nation-state law to be changed or repealed.

Shaked is expected to be appointed Home Secretary in the future government, and Abbas hopes to appoint a member of his party as his deputy.

In addition, Shaked is asking to be given a place on the Knesset Judicial Appointments Committee in place of Labor President Merav Michaeli, saying it is his condition for Yamina to join the government.

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