Dealing a further blow to the already tottering coalition, the Ra'am (United Arab List) party has decided to boycott the debate called to declare renegade Yamina MK Amichai Chikli a defector.
According to a report on Channel 12 News, Ra'am chairman Walid Taha will not be attending the debate in the Knesset Committee on Monday, following the party's decision to freeze its cooperation with the other coalition parties, in the wake of last week's violent altercations on the Temple Mount.
Meanwhile, another Yamina MK, Abir Kara, is attempting to avoid Chikli being declared a defector, hoping to secure Chikli's agreement to work with the coalition on issues of consensus. "I'll do everything in my power to prevent Amichai Chikli being declared a defector," Kara said on a live television broadcast. "I suggested to him that for the next eight weeks, he vote with the coalition, and in return, we will not declare him a defector from the Yamina party. Bennett is aware of my proposal," he added.
For his part, Chikli asked the chair of the Knesset Committee, MK Eitan Ginsburg, to demand the presence of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked at next week's hearing on declaring him a defector. Ginsburg rejected his request, and Chikli has now petitioned the Supreme Court to have Bennett and Shaked appear at the hearing, failing which he wants the debate delayed by several days.
In support of his request, Chikli submitted a document listing 98 broken promises made by Bennett and Shaked in advance of the most recent elections, his intention being to demonstrate that they and not he are the ones who defected from Yamina's platform.