MK Abbas: Government with Smotrich? Only if he apologizes first

Ra’am chairman outlines his condition for agreeing to be part of a government with Religious Zionist chairman Bezalel Smotrich.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Mansour Abbas
Mansour Abbas
Flash 90

Ra’am Party chairman Mansour Abbas on Friday said he would only be willing to be part of a government with Religious Zionist chairman Bezalel Smotrich if Smotrich apologizes for branding him a supporter of terrorism.

"Today there is a 55-60% chance of forming a government. There are two options: either a government led by Netanyahu or a government led by Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid," Abbas told the Ofira & Berkovic program on Channel 12.

The Ra’am chairman would not disclose with whom he is holding contacts on the formation of a government, and only agreed to say that there are several options on the table, though no agreements have yet been signed.

"I said to the President: 'Anyone who has the framework to form a coalition, I am with him,'" Abbas said. "I am neither on the right nor on the left. Anyone who has the opportunity to form a government and comes in contact with me, gives me the recognition and legitimacy, tells me 'let's join hands' and asks me what I want for Arab society - I will go with him if I get what I want."

Asked whether he would agree to be part of a coalition with Naftali Bennett, he replied, "I do not disqualify anyone, only those who disqualify me. Bennett did not disqualify me. Smotrich has disqualified me for the time being, I think he is wrong."

Asked what would happen if Smotrich were to call him and ask him to put their differences aside, Abbas replied, "First of all he will have to post a status, he will have to take back everything he wrote, especially the issue of false accusations and blood libels. Do you know what it is to accuse someone of supporting terrorism? That's permitting his blood."

On the recent violence between Jews and Arabs, he said, "We reject and condemn all violence on all sides. We call on all parties to come to their senses and keep the law in a respectful and dignified manner, and not to harm each other. It is possible to protest but it is forbidden to cross this red line."

"That is why the party says unequivocally that we are not interested in a fifth election. We want a stable government to be formed and for a solution for all citizens to be found," added Abbas.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)