Yamina pushes back against Netanyahu critique, claims he offered Ra’am more

The Yamina party responds to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim it has “sold the Negev to Ra’am” with a chart claiming Netanyahu had himself offered Ra’am even more sweeping concessions to entice the Islamist party to join his coalition.

The Likud-Ra’am talks were torpedoed by Religious Zionism party leader Betzalel Smotrich, who campaigned vociferously against a right-wing coalition that included a non-Zionist party. Likud has since claimed that it had never conducted negotiations with Ra’am, though officials from both parties have said otherwise.

In Yamina’s chart, it claims Netanyahu offered Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas the cancellation of the so-called Kaminitz Law.

It claims Netanyahu offered a comprehensive freeze on demolitions of illegally built buildings, whereas the Lapid-Bennett coalition deal with Ra’am freezes the demolitions for three months while the government establishes a new framework together with Ra’am.

Yamina claims, too, that Netanyahu agreed to dismantle the Yoav unit of the Israel Police, a special SWAT-style unit that helps deal with criminal organizations in the Bedouin towns of the Negev.

It even claims that Netanyahu agreed to end JNF tree planting in the south.

Finally, Yamina criticizes Netanyahu for failing to include in his purported agreement with Ra’am any budgets for developing the Arab community and integrating Arab Israelis into the broader Israeli polity. The Lapid-Bennett coalition deal with Ra’am includes over NIS 5 billion ($1.54 billion) each year for the Arab community.

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