Potential coalition kingmaker Abbas undergoes successful kidney stone removal

Ra’am party chief, courted by Netanyahu in coalition talks, is sent home from hospital feeling well after operation on Friday

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

Ra’am party chairman Mansour Abbas, a potential kingmaker following last month’s Knesset elections, was released Sunday from a northern Israel hospital after undergoing a successful operation to remove a kidney stone.

“MK Mansour Abbas is feeling well and being released this morning to his home,” Baruch Padeh Medical Center in Tiberias said in a statement.

Abbas was briefly hospitalized Tuesday at the hospital — also known as Poriya — and missed out on the swearing-in of the 24th Knesset.

He was again taken to the hospital on Friday, when he underwent the operation.

Poriya Hospital in Tiberias. (Courtesy)

“On Friday, we successfully conducted a urological operation to remove the stone from the kidney,” said Dr. Alex Konstantinovsky, head of the hospital’s Urology Unit. “MK Abbas is feeling well and can go back to his home and family.”

Abbas thanked the staff and praised the hospital for serving “residents of the periphery.”

Abbas’s support, likely from outside a government, is seen as crucial to the formation of any potential coalition following the March 23 election. But right-wing parties have been loath to cooperate with the Islamist, non-Zionist party. Religious Zionism, led by Bezalel Smotrich, has ruled out the possibility entirely. Some right-wingers accuse Abbas of being a supporter of the Hamas terror group.

According to a number of reports over the weekend, Abbas is considering making a political speech in which he will stress his commitment to Israel, in order to ease the path toward his acceptance by right-wing parties.

According to reports on Channel 13 and Kan, in such a speech Abbas would reject terrorism and assure the general public of his dedication to the country. According to Kan, it was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud that was pressing for this move, in order to pressure Smotrich into agreeing to cooperate with Abbas.

Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas speaks during a press conference in Nazareth, April 1, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Abbas already made a landmark primetime speech on April 1, in which he called for Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel “based on mutual respect and genuine equality.”

According to Channel 13, in closed conversations, Abbas has said he prefers a right-wing government led by Netanyahu, which he thinks would be more capable of helping his constituency than one composed of parties from across the political spectrum.

Netanyahu was last week tasked with forming a government by President Reuven Rivlin. He currently has the support of 52 lawmakers, and is in discussions with Yamina’s Naftali Bennett. Bennett’s support would get him to 59, leaving him dependent on Abbas with Ra’am’s four seats to get a majority in the 120-seat Knesset.

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