Never before a arab party, representing the population of Palestinian origin, had been part of a government coalition in Israel, eminently Zionist in style.
But it happened now, paradoxically, amid growing intercommunity tension.
The Islamist Party Raam, with just four deputies (out of a total of 120 who make up the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament), was the key for the diverse opposition to close a coalition agreement, still to be ratified in the Legislative, even at the cost of distancing itself from the traditional Arab position, fought with the Israeli institutionality.
It will have, in principle, high positions but not ministries.
“The Arab population (21% of the total of Israel) is not monolithic. So, for example, you have those of the Arab United List (6 seats) who are largely against these agreements and, above all, in a government led – the first two years – by Naftalí Bennet (a religious ultra-nationalist and pro-colonization), “the Arab analyst with Israeli citizenship, Afif Abu Muj, told the EFE agency.
Ultra-nationalist leader Naftali Bennett would be prime minister during the first tranche of the new coalition government in Israel, if Parliament approves it. Photo: AP
The recent explosion of tension between Arab and Jewish citizens; the rejection expressed in the streets by a population with a strong Palestinian identity against the Israeli system made such an event unlikely at this time.
However, it introduces a paradigm shift for both communities.
“Because it is not only that the Arabs did not want to join a government, it is that the Israeli (Zionist) parties did not want to negotiate with them either,” remarked Abu Muj, who even reproaches the opposition leader, the centrist Yair Lapid, for having been Reluctant to add Arab citizens to his list, but now he is negotiating with Raam.
The Islamist-based Raam party split from the United List – a coalition in which it participated with three other parties – to stand in the elections last March, when amid growing discontent over the criminality and marginalization in mixed cities of Israel he opted for pragmatism.
Its leader, Mansur Abas, openly assumed his intention to participate in an Executive, even led by the still prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who had gone from basing his electoral campaign on the delegitimization of this population to seeking in these elections (the fourths in two years) his vote to survive politically.
In fact, when Netanyahu received before Lapid the presidential mandate to form the Executive after the elections, Abas negotiated a possible adhesion in exchange for what for him should be “(economic) benefits” for his community.
Netanyahu’s associates, such as the anti-Arab Religious Zionist Party, opposed and the coalition could not be closed.
In the agreement closed on Wednesday with the opposition bloc, Abas committed a high economic investment in the medium term for the development of Arab towns, especially in the Negev, southern Israel, with a high Bedouin population, the most marginal link in the Arab sector. and a large part of its voters.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu close to being out of power after 12 years. Photo: AFP
“This is the first time that an Arab party is part of the process of forming a government. Of course, we hope it works and that it comes out after four rounds of elections, “Abas declared on Wednesday when signing the agreement.
Just over half of the Arab population with the right to vote participates in the elections to the Israeli Parliament that reached your best results with the coalition of the Arab United List, placing it as the third political force in the Chamber in previous elections, but opposed to participating in Executives.
For the Israeli political expert, Yonatan Freeman, Raam’s position shows in turn a “significant trend that the new generations identify as Israelis and are more involved in the economy and politics”, while the United List, which is He opposes integration, “he knows it but he denies it,” he adds.
The truth is that Abas was not well received in the mixed town of Uhm al Fahem when in these months protests against police and criminal violence were already spreading, even before the recent escalation.
And residents with eviction orders for Jewish settlers from the Seij Yarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem recently declined their visit, following street clashes between Palestinians and Israelis throughout Israel and the Holy City, and in parallel with the escalation of war in Gaza.
Celebrations in Tel Aviv, Wednesday night, following the agreement to form an anti-Natanyahu government in Israel. Photo: AFP
Even with the social upheaval, the historical discrimination that has been denounced by the Arab communities of Israel and the political stagnation in the country seem to have made mutual interest possible.
“Arab-Israelis are a whole universe of feelings and identities, there is potential to develop politically, but economically they are more integrated than ever,” said analyst Gideon Rahat, a professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
A survey by the Israel Institute for Democracy in April showed an increase, to 44%, in the support of Jewish citizens to accept the external vote of Arab parties in the formation of the Israeli government to avoid a fifth election.
Among the Arab population, the attitude favorable to facilitating an Israeli Executive exceeded 65% among those surveyed.
The creation of this Executive complex of ideologies as diverse as they are antagonistic.
But analysts agree that another confrontation with Gaza or an escalation of tension similar to the recent one in the streets will not make the position of an Arab party in an Israeli government easy, although the political blockade of the last two years has shown that they are needed. .