Eli Avidar
Eli Avidar Yoni Kempinski/Israel National News

Despite the coalition crisis prompted by the defection of coalition chair Idit Silman (Yamina), leaving the government without a majority, MK Eli Avidar (Yisrael Beytenu) is optimistic, and is looking to the predominantly Arab Joint List party to save the day.

"This government is not going to fall," he told Reshet Bet. "Netanyahu cannot form a government, and we'll make sure that the country doesn't go to elections. I'll do whatever I can to get the Joint List on board. The public won't forgive them if they enable a gang of racists to take power. We have to bring in the defectors from the other side and

United Arab List head MK Mansour Abbas was less upbeat about the coalition's prospects. "Anyone who thinks that elections are not looming on the horizon is mistaken," he told Reshet Bet. "We're racing toward them.

"Our positions regarding the various political options for the UAL are already known," Abbas added. "But I want to stress that we are very happy with the coalition we are in, and hope that it will endure."

Regarding the current crisis, Abbas said that, "The basic premise was that we would all agree to advance issues on which there is a broad consensus and leave divisive issues for later. Unfortunately, over time, certain people tried to advance an agenda for which there is no consensus. All of the various parties in the coalition have suffered in one way or another due to the character of this coalition, but there are also advantages to this historic experiment in bringing together disparate political forces. This government broke the taboo that said that only Netanyahu could achieve that."

Asked whether he thought the Joint List would vote in favor of dissolving the Knesset, Abbas said he hoped they would not. "Unfortunately, there are parties who do want to dissolve the Knesset, but there's nothing to gain by doing that. It would not benefit the Arab sector, nor would it anchor our position in Israeli society. I hope that [the Joint List MKs] will understand this, and appreciate that we are at a historic crossroads and that we have an obligation to utilize the situation to alter our approach."