Islamist Party 'Gives Coalition Another Chance,' Foiling Vote to Bring Down Bennett Government

Meanwhile, Joint List member protests opposition party's talks with Gantz and Lapid, as Israel's ruling coalition fights for survival

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United Arab List party leader Mansour Abbas (right) speaking to reporters at the Knesset, on Wednesday.
United Arab List party leader Mansour Abbas (right) speaking to reporters at the Knesset, on Wednesday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg

A bid by the Likud-led opposition to oust Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's government hit a snag on Wednesday after the United Arab List, an Islamist party in Israel's ruling coalition, announced it will not support a bill to dissolve parliament.

The party's leader, Mansour Abbas, told reporters at the Knesset that his party, which threatened to quit the coalition over recent violence surrounding Jerusalem's holy sites, will "give the coalition another chance."

Abbas said that another election cycle would be "a terrible mistake that will likely bring Netanyahu back and will see us losing all of our achievements."

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party withdrew the motion it had tabled to dissolve parliament. If the vote would have gone through but failed to pass, the opposition would have had to wait another six months before being able to raise it again.

Likud's Shlomo Karhi, who sponsored the bill, said after it was withdrawn that "nothing has changed. The government's end is near, God willing."

Speaking before the Knesset, Netanyahu called the government "weak," saying it "relies on the mercy of a party that denies the existence of the Jewish state," alluding to the United Arab List.

As the coalition works to ensure its stability, the Joint List's floor leader announced he was resigning from the post, after learning that some members of his opposition party are in talks with Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Sami Abu Shehadeh, representing the Balad faction of the Joint List, said that though the talks were informal at this point, they should have been coordinated with him, according to sources close to him.

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