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Ra’am chief said to threaten boycott of coalition votes over tree planting in south

MK Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra'am party, speaks during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset in Jerusalem, on January 5, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MK Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra'am party, speaks during a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset in Jerusalem, on January 5, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Ra’am chief MK Mansour Abbas is reportedly vowing to not vote with the coalition moving forward due to anger over ongoing plantings of trees in the south by Keren Kayemet L’Yisrael-Jewish National Fund.

In comments cited by Channel 12 news, Abbas says “we will not vote with the coalition under the plantings in the south are stopped.” Such plantings are seen as an attempt by the KKL and Jewish groups to mark territory in the south that Bedouin groups claim belongs to them.

“I can’t continue to live with this,” Abbas is quoted as saying. “I can’t continue like this, I have absorbed more difficult things in the past, but when they shoot straight in my chest I can’t stand it anymore. The south is Ra’am.” He reportedly vowed to cease voting with the coalition until the issue is solved.

Earlier today, a delegation of Likud MKs took part in a tree-planting ceremony in the KKL-controlled Yatir Forest in the south. Separately, the MKs faced criticism for planting trees during the shmita sabbatical year.

With an extremely narrow 61-seat coalition, every vote in the Knesset can come down to a single vote, and the opposition has in the past voted against bills it supports just to embarrass the current government.

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