Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana (Yamina) on Thursday morning praised Ra’am Chairman MK Mahmoud Abbas on Facebook, who “says to his public, to the Arabs who are citizens of Israel, that it might be worth it to try something else. And he tells them that being citizens of a Western and democratic state may be a great opportunity, an opportunity that none of their brethren have in the Muslim Arab world. And maybe, when things look a little different, they’ll have better schools, and better infrastructure, and maybe crime will also go down and the chance of being hit by a stray bullet fired in a war between crime families will be much lower.”
“And this leader decided to be part of the coalition and to try to do things differently. And even if we look only from the point of view of the Jews, it is something good. This is something we want. This is something we should welcome. Because we, too, know that changes come from within,” he added.
Clearly, Minister Kahana is filled with gratitude to Abbas and the four members of the Islamist party Ra’am for opting not to support a no-confidence vote in the Knesset on Wednesday, causing the opposition parties to withdraw the vote.
Abbas reportedly exacted five promises from the Bennett coalition government in return for his magnanimous agreement to live up to his commitments. These were: no more Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount; pay up the promised billions to the Arab sector; legalize all the illegal Bedouin villages in the Negev; tell Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) to cool it with enforcing the law in Arab communities; and boost the search for arms in Arab communities.
In the end, Kahana concedes: “So I, too, am really unhappy that our coalition is dependent on the votes of the Ra’am party. But what can you do, politics is not a requests show. And some shout about it very loudly, but it’s probably not important enough for them to enter the coalition and change the situation (although some of their rabbis thought it was actually a relevant option). So, yes, there is a brave, new voice here. There is an opportunity here. An opportunity we must not miss without at least trying. We will continue to fight terrorism with all our might and give this new voice a chance to make an impact.
For perspective, MK Mansour Abbas also has a Facebook page, and he posted there five days ago: “The final solution is to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital and the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque at its heart.”
Of course, by Al-Aqsa Mosque he means the entire Temple Mount, a point that’s often missed by local and foreign media.
In conclusion, Abbas wrote: “It is our duty to support the efforts of King Abdullah II, as is the duty of all Arab and Muslim rulers. The issue of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque is the issue of the entire Islamic nation, not a local political issue.”
Many on the right in Israel interpreted this to mean that whatever the Jordanian king says regarding the Temple Mount should be obeyed by Israel. Then a slew of Israeli media folks pushed the point that Abbas did not mean this, but rather that there should be a consensus reached by Israel and Jordan, and this consensus should be followed. But you know, he didn’t say that. He really didn’t.