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Bennett ready to rely on Abbas to form government

CM 28/04/2021

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The two politicians who hold the key to the formation of the next government, Yamina leader Naftali Bennett and Ra’am (United Arab List) leader Mansour Abbas, held a fateful meeting at the Knesset on Wednesday that both sides said broke the ice between the two.
During the election, Bennett firmly ruled out a coalition formed with the support of Abbas’s party – in dramatic fashion. But his associates said for the first time after the Bennett-Abbas meeting that a minority coalition relying on Abbas would no longer be vetoed.
“We will be leaving open the option of Mansour voting in favor of the formation of a government or abstaining, now that he has been whitewashed by the Likud,” a source close to Bennett said.
The first meeting ever between the two kingmakers was requested by Abbas, who impressed Bennett by focusing only on civil issues helping the Arab minority and not security, diplomacy or changing the controversial Nation-State Law. They dealt with their parties’ views on the current political situation and the meeting went exceptionally well, the two sides said afterward.
The Religious Zionist Party responded that “Bennett took another dangerous and irresponsible step toward setting a precedent by forming a left-wing government backed by a party that supports terror and the murderers of children.”
More meetings between Bennett and Abbas are expected in the days ahead. But actual coalition negotiations are being conducted in the two separate political blocs of Bennett and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with their satellite parties.
As part of those efforts, Bennett and New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar held marathon talks for more than four hours on Wednesday. Lapid held talks with Labor leader Merav Michaeli and Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz.

Bennett would prefer to complete agreements between the blocs on portfolios and policies before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mandate runs out on Tuesday night.
While media outlets tried to find loopholes in statements by Blue and White leader Benny Gantz leaving open the possibility of rotating with Netanyahu as prime minister, sources in Blue and White said he was merely trying to keep his leverage for his coalition talks with Lapid.
An MK in New Hope told The Jerusalem Post firmly that there no longer remains any chance for Netanyahu to form a government.
Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman referenced former US president Donald Trump in a Twitter post about the urgency of forming a government. He complained about security tension in the North, rocket attacks in the South, violence in Jerusalem, and Netanyahu’s behavior in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.
“Make Israel Normal Again,” Liberman wrote.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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