South Asia and Beyond

Israeli Arabs Could Determine New Israeli Govt

Imagine an ethnic Arab with the power to decide the next government in Israel! That’s exactly the position Mansour Abbas may be relishing after his United Arab List emerged in the latest elections with four seats in the Knesset or parliament. Though prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s camp comprising the Likud and other right-wing parties are the single largest group with 52 seats, they are short of the 61 required to form a government. The left and centrist parties between them hold 57 seats. So Abbas with his four seats is king maker.

Abbas says he is in talks with the right and the left and is prepared to support any body willing to work for “improving conditions of the Arab citizens and ending injustice, marginalisation and exclusion against them.” He says his demands are non-negotiable. He wants the demolition of Arab homes to stop along with other crimes against his people.

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To President Reuven Rivlin will fall the delicate task of finding who among all these contenders is best placed to form a stable government. If he fails, a caretaker government takes over for three months until fresh elections are held.