Smotrich Rules Out Ra’am-Backed Coalition

YERUSHALAYIM -
MK Betzalel Smotrich seen with supporters at the Religious Zionist Party headquarters in Modi’in, on election night. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Religious Zionist Party head Betzalel Smotrich on Thursday ruled out the possibility of establishing a right-wing government backed by the Islamist Ra’am party.

Ra’am splintered from the Arab Joint List alliance in the run-up to the elections for the 24th Knesset, after its leader Mansour Abbas developed close ties with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said he will not rule out joining his coalition.

“There won’t be a right-wing government backed by Mansour Abbas’s Ra’am. Period. Not from within. Not from the outside, not through abstaining, and not through any other scheme,” Smotrich wrote on his social media page.

He then went on to slam voices on the right wing that called for cooperation with Ra’am, labeling them as “irresponsible.”

Most right-wing MKs have been reluctant to consider Ra’am as a potential coalition partner since it does not recognize Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.