Ra’am, Ben Gvir come together in refusal to come together in a coalition

It would be “impossible” for Ra’am to sit in a government with neo-Kahanist Itamar Ben Gvir, likely incoming Ra’am MK Mazen Ghanaim tells The Times of Israel.

Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas and party members at the party headquarters in Tamra, on election night, March 23, 2021. (Flash90)

“It would be very hard to sit with someone like Ben Gvir who feels such enmity for Arab society. In that case, we could demand our people’s rights outside the government because when Benjamin Netanyahu sits with someone like Ben Gvir, it’s very hard to be a member [of that government],” Ghanaim says.

Asked whether “very hard” meant “impossible,” Ghanaim says: “I would say that it’s impossible.”

The sentiment appears to be mutual. Ben-Gvir, a Jewish supremacist who is set to enter the Knesset for the first time with the Religious Zionism party, tells Channel 12 that he is dead set against being in the same coalition as Abbas.

“He’s a man who has written that he supports Hamas,” he says, adding that he would ask Netanyahu if he can really rely on Abbas regarding approving IDF operations in Gaza.

Head of the far-right Religious Zionism party MK Bezalel Smotrich and party member Itamar Ben Gvir seen with supporters and party members at the party headquarters in Modi’in, on elections night, March 23, 2021. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Ra’am party secretary Walid al-Hawashleh told The Times of Israel earlier on Wednesday that no final decisions have been made about where the party’s red lines in coalition negotiations will be.

Most of the 13 political parties set to enter the Knesset fall either in Netanyahu’s camp or in the anti-Netanyahu camp, which is led by Yesh Atid party chief Yair Lapid.

“I’m telling you, both are bad. But at the end of the day, we have demands. We’ll put our demands on the table and go back to our internal institutions, to the voters who supported us, and ask people for their opinion,” Ghanaim says.

Ghanaim says that Ra’am will demand commitments to revoke the 2018 Nation-State law as well as a 2017 law targeting illegal Arab construction, among other priorities.