Joint List Lawmaker to Present Bill Calling for Early Israel Election

A senior coalition member says talks with lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi – who quit the coalition and left it without a majority – have been put in the hands of United Arab List Mansour Abbas

Joint List lawmaker Sami Abu Shehadeh at the Knesset, in January.
Joint List lawmaker Sami Abu Shehadeh at the Knesset, in January. Credit: Dani Shem Tov/ Knesset Spokesperon's Office

A legislator from the Joint List – an alliance of three of Israel's Arab-majority political parties – said Friday that he would submit a bill to dissolve the Knesset on Wednesday.

This comes a day after Meretz lawmaker Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi announced that she is quitting the ruling government, and leaving it without a majority, thus increasing the opposition’s prospects of toppling it.

“This evil government must fall,” said lawmaker Sami Abu Shehadeh. He was responding to a report about talks between the Joint List and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to collaborate on preventing elections.

“Joint List has no connection to talks with Lapid, and there will be no place for providing a safety net to any government of occupation,” Abu Shehadeh said.

Members of Yamina, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s party, also denied the reports. “The government will not lean on the Joint List in any situation, and there are no deals with them,” the party stated.

Either way, political figures say they believe that the Joint List would support dissolving the Knesset should the issue come up for a vote on Wednesday.

United Arab List Chariman Mansour Abbas outside Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi's house in Nof Hagalil, on Friday.Credit: Gil Eliyahu

A senior coalition member said that Rinawie Zoabie “promised not to topple the government.” He added, “Our fear now is the scenario in which she will abstain in a vote to dissolve the Knesset. It’s still unclear what she’ll do.”

Another senior member in the coalition said that talks with Rinawie Zoabi have been put in the hands of United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas, given that coalition members believe she has lost faith in Meretz. “Meretz has no influence on or control over Rinawie Zoabi,” he said. The UAL is part of Bennett's coalition.

Earlier on Friday, Abbas met Rinawie Zoabi at her home in Nof Hagalil. He later told Channel 13 News that she was "Elected to represent the Arab community, and she has done it and will continue doing it. She has a big responsibility and I trust her."

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