Saturday, January 23rd | 11 Shevat 5781

December 20, 2020 10:36 am

What’s Behind an Israeli Islamist Politician’s Budding Relationship With Netanyahu?

avatar by Ariel Ben Solomon /


Deputy Knesset Speaker and Ra’am Party leader Mansour Abbas. April 16, 2019. Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90. – Joint Arab List Knesset member Mansour Abbas raised eyebrows and angered some of his fellow Arab lawmakers after seeking to improve ties with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud Party, yet the real motivation behind the move went largely unnoticed.

Abbas, the head of the United Arab List (also known by its Hebrew acronym, Ra’am) Party—the political branch of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement—criticized the Joint List in an Israeli TV interview last month for not working to help Arab society enough.

So why is a politician from the offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to Islamize Israeli Arabs and in the long term transform Israel into an Islamic state, seeking cooperation with a right-wing government?

“Mansour Abbas is aware of the feelings in the Arab public and probably sensed that there is economic distress because of the coronavirus crisis,” Arik Rudnitzky, of the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center, told JNS.

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