Mansour Abbas
Mansour Abbasצילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The United Arab List (Ra’am) is threatening to refrain from backing the state budget proposed by the government, effectively ensuring the coalition’s collapse and forcing new elections – Israel’s fifth since April 2019.

According to a report by Channel 12 Sunday night, the UAL is pressing the Bennett government to reach an understanding regarding the 35 billion shekels ($10.94 billion) promised to the Arab sector for the UAL’s support of the government.

With one month until the government is slated to bring up the budget bill for a vote in the Knesset, coalition members are scrambling to ensure the UAL backs the spending plan. Without the UAL’s support or new coalition partners to back the budget, the Knesset will be automatically dissolved if a spending plan cannot be passed and new elections called.

But, the report claims, talks between the UAL and the Interior Ministry have been nixed, amid disputes over funding for Arab municipalities.

MK Waleed Taha (UAL), chairman of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, was quoted as having told confidants recently that new elections are on the table if the UAL’s demands are not met.

“We joined the coalition in order to change the bleak, distorted situation and to end decades of neglect and discrimination and recklessness towards the Arab sector. Anyone who understands things differently is fooling himself. Elections are definitely a real option.”

UAL party chairman Mansour Abbas also criticized the current unity government, and lamented the failure to reach a deal for the formation of a right-wing government led by Netanyahu.

“The government fears criticism from the Right, and therefore is prevented from fulfilling its promises. It wasn’t for nothing that I thought it best for the UAL to go with a right-wing government. People forget that Netanyahu would go around bragging about how much money he gave to the Arab sector. Netanyahu is casting a big shadow over this government. You can’t always stay frightened of what the Likud will say.”