In a last-ditch effort to prevent the establishment of Israel’s 36th government last year, dubbed the “change government,” then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered Mansour Abbas, head of the Arab Ra’am party, unparalleled power in issues relating to the Arab sector.
The offer, mediated by Aryeh Deri, the leader of the Haredi party Shas, is first revealed by Israeli journalist Mohammad Magadli.
“Minutes before the change government was established, Deri was sent by Netanyahu to talk to Abbas, and he tells him: ‘Don’t join this government, we will reach 61 seats and can establish this government and you’ll get whatever you want,'” Magadli says while speaking in a podcast hosted by former journalist Nadav Perry.
Abbas, however, wasn’t convinced, according to Magadli, raising concerns of Netanyahu’s proven record of breaking agreements with supposed political partners and citing the agreement Netanyahu had made with then-alternate prime minister Benny Gantz that was never implemented.
“Why should I believe you,” Abbas is said to have asked Deri, to which Netanyahu’s ally responded: “You have my word that you’ll have exclusivity within the Interior Ministry in all issues relating to the Arab sector.”