Right-leaning journalist Amit Segal reported Tuesday that in Monday’s meeting of coalition leaders with Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas, it was decided not to give the opposition parties a victorious photo op as they defeat the law preventing family reunification of Israeli Arabs with their PA spouses. The possibility of a victory for Likud et al this early in the game served as a motivational tool for the gang of eight to dialogue until they find a “humanitarian solutions.”
And so, just as his toppling served as the only real motivation for these coalition parties to unite, it appears that everything opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu is doing revitalizes the coalition’s spirit of unity. When Richard Nixon lost his 1962 gubernatorial bid in California, he famously told the press: “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Bibi, on the other hand, is the gift that keeps on giving. With a little luck, he’ll keep this bunch going for the full four years.
Initially, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) expected that for the sake of passing this crucial law that prevents terrorists from marrying their way into Israeli citizenship, the right-wing parties put down their weapons and cooperate with the government – especially since it was the Likud party that initially submitted this law for its annual renewal three months ago. But Shaked’s former allies in Religious Zionism decided to embarrass her instead and submitted a proposal to turn this bit of legislative convenience into a constitutional law on immigration.
There was no way Meretz, Labor, and especially Ra’am were going to vote in favor of this radical bill, and it wasn’t submitted in order to get it passed anyway, it was written to make Bennett and Shaked look bad.
And so, in an effort to deny their former buddies this pleasure, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas met Monday night through three mediators, determined to reach a compromise.
In his wildest dreams, Netanyahu didn’t conceive of being the man who made peace between the former Yesha Council leader Bennett and the Muslim Brother Abbas, but there you have it.
The solution currently being contemplated is that Ra’am would abstain in return for a public pledge of Interior minister Shaked to solve humanitarian problems in Arab society – which include, besides family reunification, issues such as employment permits, hospitalizations, driver’s licenses, citizenship for Arabs staying illegally in Israel for many years, and who knows what else.
In other words, the clever trick designed by Smotrich, Netanyahu, and friends, will end up creating a solid path for PA Arabs to be integrated into Israel proper – a path that could be turned into law by future left-wing governments. Oh, they showed them.
According to Kan 11 News, some in Likud recognize the folly of killing the reunification ban and when push comes to shove will vote to extend the law another year (it has a one-year sunset and has been working this way since 2003 – DI). Otherwise, those warnings from MK Bezalel Smotrich that the Bennett government would usher “Palestinian refugees” into the country would come true, in no small part thanks to MK Bezalel Smotrich (to be fair though, Smotrich did request to negotiate with the coalition on the bill).