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Ra’am said unlikely to quit coalition, but will keep freeze in place

TV report says senior officials in PM Bennett’s Yamina party warning they may not be able to withstand pressure if bill to dissolve Knesset clears initial reading

Ra'am Party leader MK Mansour Abbas attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am Party leader MK Mansour Abbas attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.

Zelensky says Ukraine needs more arms to break siege of Mariupol

VALLETTA, Malta — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tells Maltese lawmakers that despite pleas, Ukraine has not received the amount of weapons it would need to unblock the siege of Mariupol and free the city.

Zelensky says defenders “still continue their resistance in the plant of Azovstal. We are using all possible diplomatic instruments to rescue them, but Russia doesn’t allow for any of the proposed options. We have asked our partners to provide weapons in order to unblock Mariupol and rescue both civilians and military personnel.”

But he says the amount of weapons needed has not been provided. Zelensky says Ukrainian cities and towns have been hit by 2,250 missiles over the 2 1/2-month invasion. “The bombardment doesn’t stop, neither during the day, nor the night,” he said.

The president also says Russia’s blockade of ports on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov means Ukraine cannot export grains and sunflower, which will provoke a crisis in the global food market.

“If we cannot export wheat, barley, sunflower, sunflower seed oil, then it means that people in North Africa and Asia will be lacking food and the prices will go up,” Zelensky says. “Later, there could be new chaos and a new migration crisis, and I think you can feel this crisis in the neighboring regions to Malta.”

Elon Musk says he’d reverse Twitter ban on Trump

Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk talks with then US president Donald Trump after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, at Kennedy Space Center,  on May 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk talks with then US president Donald Trump after viewing the SpaceX flight to the International Space Station, at Kennedy Space Center, on May 30, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SAN FRANCISCO — Elon Musk on Tuesday says he would lift Twitter’s ban on former US president Donald Trump if his deal to buy the global messaging platform is successful.

“I would reverse the ban,” the billionaire says at a Financial Times conference, noting that he doesn’t own Twitter yet, so “this is not like a thing that will definitely happen.”

The Tesla chief’s $44-billion deal to buy Twitter must still get the backing of shareholders and regulators, but he has voiced enthusiasm for less content moderation and fewer bans.

US intel chief: Putin ready for long war in Ukraine, wants land bridge to Transnistria

Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies about worldwide threats during a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testifies about worldwide threats during a US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 10, 2022. (Saul Loeb/AFP)

WASHINGTON — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will not end the Ukraine war with the Donbas campaign and is determined to build a land bridge to Russian-controlled territory in Moldova, US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines says today.

US intelligence also views it increasingly likely that Putin will mobilize his entire country, including ordering martial law, and is counting on his perseverance to wear down Western support for Ukraine.

“We assess President Putin is preparing for prolonged conflict in Ukraine during which he still intends to achieve goals beyond the Donbas,” Haines says.

US intelligence thinks Putin’s decision to concentrate Russian forces in the eastern Donbas region is “only a temporary shift” after their failure to capture Kyiv in the north.

Russian forces still intend to win territory across the Black Sea coast, in part to secure water resources for Crimea, which Moscow seized in 2014, Haines tells the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“We… see indications that the Russian military wants to extend the land bridge to Transnistria,” Haines says, referring to the Moscow-backed separatist region of Moldova along Ukraine’s southwest border.

Ra’am not likely to quit coalition, but won’t end suspension of ties — report

Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am MK Walid Taha attends a Knesset Arrangements Committee meeting, on June 21, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am is not expected to quit the coalition but in the meantime will not end its “freeze” on supporting the government, Channel 12 news reports, as the Islamist faction’s advisory body meets to deliberate its future in the coalition.

The report says that among the Shura Council’s expected decisions are that Ra’am will deal with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and not Prime Minister Naftali Bennett; the party will insist on its original demands to resume backing the government; and MK Walid Taha will lead the coalition negotiations on behalf of the party.

Additionally, the network says that senior officials in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party have warned the premier and Ra’am that they may not be able to handle the heat if a bill to dissolve the Knesset passes a preliminary reading tomorrow.

Lufthansa apologizes after Orthodox Jews barred from flight because group didn’t wear masks

Jewish passengers who were kicked off a Lufthansa flight were greeted by the police once they arrived in Frankfurt. (Courtesy via JTA)
Jewish passengers who were kicked off a Lufthansa flight were greeted by the police once they arrived in Frankfurt. (Courtesy via JTA)

Lufthansa has issued an apology after Orthodox Jews complained that all visibly Jewish passengers were thrown off the flight because one group didn’t follow the German carrier’s masking rules.

In video from the incident, a Lufthansa supervisor could be heard saying “everyone has to pay for a couple” and that “it’s Jews coming from JFK. Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”

In a statement, Lufthansa says only the “non-compliant guests” should have been prevented from boarding and not the entire group.

“What transpired is not consistent with Lufthansa’s policies or values. We have no tolerance for racism, antisemitism and discrimination of any type,” the statement says.

In Hebrew tweet, senior Iran official claims progress in nuclear talks

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani sits in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, on June 12, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani sits in a meeting in Tehran, Iran, on June 12, 2021. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

The secretary-general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council puts out a tweet in Hebrew on the negotiations to restore the accord limiting Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

Noting EU Enrique Mora is due to visit Iran, Ali Shamkhani says there has been progress in talks on removing sanctions and economic development, “which demonstrate the high capability of people for great action and government control of the most important matters.”

TV: Neck protector developed by police chief helped save life of officer at Damascus Gate

A neck protector developed by Israel Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai helped save the life of an officer stabbed yesterday in an attack at the Damascus Gate, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The policeman was moderately wounded after being stabbed in the neck by a Palestinian, who was shot by other officers.

“In recent years, we’ve seen more and more armed terrorists with knives. Yesterday, the force of the thrust was very strong and the knife very sharp… Likely a more severe wound was prevented,” an unnamed senior police official tells the broadcaster.

The report doesn’t detail Shabtai’s role in developing the neck protector.

UN nuclear watchdog chief ‘extremely concerned’ by lack of Iranian cooperation

Rafael Grossi, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks to the press at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on March 4, 2022. (Joe Klamar/AFP)
Rafael Grossi, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, speaks to the press at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria, on March 4, 2022. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

VIENNA — The UN atomic energy watchdog chief says that he’s “extremely concerned” about Iran’s lack of cooperation as the EU seeks to unblock talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

Talks between world powers and Iran have stalled since mid-March as negotiators seek to return to the landmark accord that curtailed the Islamic republic’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

EU diplomat Enrique Mora, who chairs the negotiations, will visit Tehran this week, Iran announced yesterday, as the United States — which is seeking to come back to the deal it unilaterally left in 2018 — voiced hope for progress.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is “trying to clarify a number of still open matters with Iran,” agency head Rafael Grossi tells a European Parliament committee.

“I am referring to the fact that we, in the last few months, were able to identify traces of enriched uranium in places that had never been declared by Iran as places where any activity was taking place,” he says today.

“The situation does not look very good. Iran, for the time being, has not been forthcoming in the kind of information we need from them… We are extremely concerned about this,” he says.

The IAEA and Iran announced in March that they had agreed on an approach for resolving issues crucial to reviving the 2015 nuclear accord.

At the time, Grossi said the UN agency and Iran had “decided to try a practical, pragmatic approach” to overcome “a number of important matters.”

Some documents are to be exchanged between the two sides by May 22.

The aim is to settle outstanding questions that the IAEA has about the past presence of nuclear material at undeclared sites in Iran.

EU condemns Israeli court ruling okaying expulsion of Palestinians from IDF firing zone

Palestinians look at homes which were demolished by Israeli authorities in the West Bank village of Khalat Aldabe, south of Yatta, on June 17, 2019. (Wissam Hashlamon/Flash90)
Palestinians look at homes which were demolished by Israeli authorities in the West Bank village of Khalat Aldabe, south of Yatta, on June 17, 2019. (Wissam Hashlamon/Flash90)

BRUSSELS — The European Union condemns a ruling from an Israeli court approving the eviction of over 1,000 Palestinians to make way for a military training zone.

“The Israeli Supreme Court issued last week (May 4) a decision on the Masafer Yatta eviction case in the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank, increasing the risk of the forced transfer of some 1,200 Palestinians and the demolition of their homes,” a spokesperson for the bloc says in a statement.

“Settlement expansion, demolitions and evictions are illegal under international law. The EU condemns such possible plans and urges Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law.”

The statement says that “the establishment of a firing zone cannot be considered an ‘imperative military reason’ to transfer the population under occupation.”

The case of Masafer Yatta — or Firing Zone 918 — an agriculture area near Hebron in the West Bank, has been one of Israel’s longest-running legal battles.

Odeh says entire Joint List will back bill to dissolve Knesset

Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh gestures as he speaks during a conference in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh gestures as he speaks during a conference in Jerusalem, on March 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh vows all six of the predominantly Arab party’s lawmakers will back a bill to dissolve the Knesset when it comes up for a preliminary vote tomorrow.

“All six members of the Joint List will participate in the vote [tomorrow]. All of us will vote to dissolve the Knesset. Period,” he tells Channel 12 news.

The Joint List is comprised of three factions — Hadash, Ta’al and Balad. Odeh, who leads Hadash, and the head of Ta’al have both said their factions will vote for the measure, while Balad has not yet publicly commented.

Russian envoy said to storm out of Knesset V-Day event over Ukraine war criticism

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov gives a statement to the media at the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)
Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov gives a statement to the media at the Russian Consulate in Tel Aviv, on March 3, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni‎‏/Flash90)

Russian Ambassador to Israel Anatoly Viktorov stormed out of a Knesset event commemorating Victory Day in protest of lawmakers’ criticism of Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, Channel 12 news reports.

Citing Knesset sources, the network says Viktorov condemned the MK’s remarks as he quickly left with a security detail.

Among the comments that irked the ambassador were Yisrael Beytenu MK Evgeny Sova’s denouncing of the invasion as “a war crime,” according to the report.

Shura council convenes to deliberate Ra’am’s future coalition membership

The Southern Islamic Movement’s Shura Council is now meeting in Kafr Qasim to discuss Ra’am’s membership in the coalition, which is currently frozen.

The meeting comes ahead of a vote slated for tomorrow on a bill to dissolve the Knesset. The proposal must still clear several more readings if it is approved tomorrow.

“We’ll put everything on the table,” Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas tells reporters before the meeting.

Entry permits revoked for over 1,100 Palestinians with relatives involved in terror

Israeli security forces guard as Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint to attend Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, April 22, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90_
Israeli security forces guard as Palestinians make their way through a checkpoint to attend Friday prayers at Jerusalem's Temple Mount, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, April 22, 2022. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90_

Israel has revoked the entry permits of over 1,100 Palestinians whose relatives were involved in terror attacks, including several recent deadly assaults, security officials tell Hebrew media.

“Any Palestinian who thinks of choosing the way of terror should know that the attack he commits will fatally harm his family,” an official is quoted as saying.

Ra’am chief slams Joint List support for dissolving Knesset: ‘A stab in the back’

Ra'am Party leader MK Mansour Abbas attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Ra'am Party leader MK Mansour Abbas attends the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, on February 22, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas fires back at the Joint List after some of its senior members said the predominantly Arab party will back a measure to dissolve the Knesset and hold new elections.

“A stab in the back of the Arab community and Ra’am while Ra’am is holding negotiations with the government,” he says in a Facebook post, according to the Kan public broadcaster.

The Islamist Ra’am is part of the coalition but recently suspended its membership amid tensions in Jerusalem over the Temple Mount. The coalition was already down to 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset after the defection of a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party.

Ombudsman decries lack of funds to protect border towns, settlements from attacks

Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman speaks at  a conference in Jerusalem, February 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman speaks at a conference in Jerusalem, February 23, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The State Comptroller’s Office releases its annual report, which this year includes sections scrutinizing the egg industry, decries a lack of sufficient cyber defenses in the health sector, and faults prosecutors for not following guidelines on closing criminal cases, among other subjects.

Another section says there was a budgetary shortcoming of hundreds of millions of shekels for protecting communities along the borders with Lebanon and Gaza and in the West Bank from potential terror attacks.

Top UN rights body to hold special session on Russian invasion of Ukraine

GENEVA — The UN’s top human rights body will hold a special session this week following a request from Ukraine to discuss the worsening human rights situation in the country “stemming from the Russian aggression.”

The 47-member Human Rights Council said more than one-third of member states, the required minimum, backed the call that will pave the way for Thursday’s session at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva.

Supporters included many Western countries, as well as Gambia, Marshall Islands and Mexico. A total of 55 countries, including observer states, backed the call, but the list could grow.

The council also held an “urgent dialogue” during its last session to discuss Ukraine just days after the Feb. 24 invasion by Russian forces.

Midge Decter, a leading neoconservative writer, dies at 94

NEW YORK — Midge Decter, a leading neoconservative writer and commentator who in blunt and tenacious style helped lead the right’s attack in the culture wars as she opposed the rise of feminism, affirmative action and the gay rights movement, has died at age 94.

Decter, the wife of retired Commentary editor and fellow neoconservative Norman Podhoretz, died yesterday at her home in Manhattan. Daughter Naomi Decter says her health had been failing, but doesn’t cite a specific cause of death.

Like her husband, Midge Decter was a onetime Democrat repelled in the ’60s and after by what she called “heedless and mindless leftist politics and intellectual and artistic nihilism.” Confrontation energized her: She was a popular speaker, a prolific writer and, as she described it, “the requisite bad guy on discussion panels” about the cultural issues of the moment. Her books included “Liberal Parents, Radical Children,” “The New Chastity” and the memoir “An Old Wife’s Tale.”

In 2003, she received a National Humanities Medal, cited as one who “has never shied from controversy.”

Calling herself an “ardent ideologue,” she faulted affirmative action for causing “massive seizures of self-doubt” among Black people. She attacked gays as reckless and irresponsible, and alleged that they had removed themselves from “the tides of ordinary mortal existence.”

Feminism was her special target. “The Libbers,” as she called them, “had created a generation of self-centered and unsatisfied women ‘hopping from marriage to marriage,’ resenting their children for limiting their personal freedom and pressuring themselves to have careers they might not have wanted.

She doubted the modern wish to “have it all,” but Decter managed a full life of family, work and material comfort. She was married more than 50 years to Podhoretz and had four children, two with him and two with her previous husband, Moshe Decter. (All four worked in journalism and son John Podhoretz eventually became editor of Commentary, while daughter Ruthie Blum is a columnist at The Jerusalem Post). She wrote for several publications, from The Weekly Standard to The New Republic. She was an editor at Basic Books and executive editor at Harper’s magazine, where she helped work on what became Norman Mailer’s award-winning book “The Armies of the Night.” She founded the anti-Communist “Committee for the Free World” and was a member of the conservative watchdog Accuracy in Media.

UN: Over 8 million Ukrainians internally displaced by Russian invasion

GENEVA — More than eight million people are estimated to have been internally displaced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, having fled their homes and stayed within the country, the United Nations says.

This is in addition to the more than 5.9 million Ukrainians who have left the country entirely since Moscow invaded on February 24.

The figure for the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as of May 3, issued by the UN’s International Organization for Migration, is up from the estimate of 7.7 million that the IOM gave as of April 17.

“The needs of those internally displaced and all affected by the war in Ukraine are growing by the hour,” says IOM director general Antonio Vitorino.

“Access to populations in need of aid remains a challenge amid active hostilities, but our teams are committed to continue delivering urgent assistance inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries.”

The IOM conducted its latest survey between April 29 and May 3.

Suspect arrested after 3-year-old killed in Lod hit-and-run

A suspect has been arrested in a hit-and-run in Lod that left a 3-year-old boy dead.

According to the Kan public broadcaster, the suspect is related to the boy.

Airports authority: Passengers on flight to Turkey were involved in sending plane crash photos

A photo of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, one of several plane crash photos sent to passengers on a flight from Israel to Turkey that was delayed on May 10, 2022 (Israel Airports Authority)
A photo of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, one of several plane crash photos sent to passengers on a flight from Israel to Turkey that was delayed on May 10, 2022 (Israel Airports Authority)

The Israel Airports Authority says passengers were involved in sending out photos of plane crashes to other people on a flight to Turkey, and they have been removed from the flight.

According to a statement from the authority, the plane has been cleared for takeoff after undergoing an extensive security check.

Young boy killed in Lod hit-and-run identified

A 3-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run in the central city of Lod has been identified as Jabar al-Girnawi.

https://twitter.com/kann_news/status/1523988569123172355

Secretary-general of Joint List’s Hadash faction says it’ll back bill to dissolve Knesset

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh (Hadash) at a Knesset faction meeting on March 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Joint List leader Ayman Odeh (Hadash) at a Knesset faction meeting on March 7, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hadash secretary-general Mansour Dahamsheh tells The Times of Israel that if a motion to dissolve the Knesset is brought to a vote tomorrow, the Communist Arab-Jewish party’s three MKs will vote in favor.

“Without a doubt,” Dahamsheh says.

Another Hadash official confirms Dahamsheh’s remarks, but argues the right-wing opposition is “not stupid enough” to bring a motion they still may not win.

If the opposition brings such a motion to a vote but fails to muster 61 lawmakers in support, they cannot bring another such motion for the next six months.

White House confirms Jordanian king to meet with Biden this week

US President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/ Susan Walsh)
US President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, July 19, 2021. (AP Photo/ Susan Walsh)

The White House confirms Jordan’s King Abdullah II will meet with US President Joe Biden in Washington this week.

Abdullah will hold talks with Biden on Friday at the White House, which says the visit “will reinforce the close friendship and enduring partnership between the United States and Jordan. Jordan is a critical force for stability in the Middle East and strategic partner and ally of the United States.”

According to a report yesterday, the two leaders are expected to discuss recent friction between Palestinians and Israel in Jerusalem, especially surrounding the Temple Mount compound, and efforts to deescalate tensions in the city.

Spanish spy chief sacked amid Israeli spyware scandal

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks on his cellphone during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, July 20, 2020. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks on his cellphone during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, July 20, 2020. (John Thys, Pool Photo via AP)

MADRID — Spain’s government has fired the director of its top intelligence agency amid two separate cases of hacking of politicians’ cellphones, Spanish media reports say.

Spain’s EFE news agency and other media report that Spain’s Cabinet agreed Paz Esteban will be relieved as head of Spain’s National Intelligence Center, or CNI.

The Cabinet is expected to make an official announcement later today.

The decision comes after Esteban admitted last week in a closed-door committee of Spain’s Parliament that her agency had legally hacked the phones of several Catalan separatists after receiving judicial permission.

Her agency is also under scrutiny for recent revelations by the government that the cellphones of both Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and the defense minister were also infected with the Pegasus spyware by an “external” power.

The alleged phone hacks of more than 60 Catalan politicians, lawyers and activists was denounced last month in a report by the Canada-based digital rights group Citizen Lab.

The list of phones that were allegedly infected by Pegasus spyware, which the Israeli company NSO says it only sells to government agencies, includes the current regional head of northeast Catalonia. The Citizen Lab report says the hacks started in late 2019, with Esteban in charge of the CNI.

IDF to hold emergency readiness drills in Or Yehuda, Shafir Regional Council and Kfar Adumim

The Israel Defense Forces announces it will be conducting several emergency preparedness exercises tomorrow in the central city of Or Yehuda, the Shafir Regional Council, and the West Bank settlement of Kfar Adumim.

When the sirens sound at 10:05 a.m. in Or Yehuda, residents and workers are expected to find their nearest bomb shelters to prepare them for a possible real rocket attack, the IDF says.

Separately at 10:15 a.m., an earthquake alert will sound in the Shafir Regional Council, and at 7:05 p.m., a terrorist infiltration alert will sound in Kfar Adumim.

In case of a real emergency during the tests, the sirens will sound a second time, the army says.

3-year-old boy killed in hit-and-run in central city of Lod

A 3-year-old boy has been killed in a hit-and-run in the central city of Lod.

The boy was found unconscious after being struck by a car, which fled the scene. He was pronounced dead by paramedics.

Police say they have opened an investigation.

Tibi: Joint List will back bill to dissolve Knesset

Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi during a Knesset discussion on a no-confidence motion against the government, May 9, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Joint List MK Ahmad Tibi during a Knesset discussion on a no-confidence motion against the government, May 9, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Joint Lit MK Ahmad Tibi says the predominantly Arab faction will back a proposal to dissolve the Knesset that is slated to be voted on tomorrow.

“If the [bill] comes up [for a vote] — the Joint List will vote in favor,” he tells Army Radio. “This government, on issues critical to the Arab public, is worse than the previous one.”

Meanwhile, Channel 12 news reports that senior officials in Ra’am and the Southern Islamic Movement’s Shura Council — an advisory body to the party — have held talks with the Joint List on possibly reuniting in the event of new elections.

Ra’am was previously part of the Joint List, which is made up of several factions, but it ran alone in the March 2021 elections. It later joined the ruling coalition formed after the vote, making it the first Arab Israeli party to do so in decades, though it recently froze its membership in the coalition due to tensions in Jerusalem.

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