Gaza Rockets Send Ra’am Home

YERUSHALAYIM -
Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra’am party (United Arab List). (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The rocket attacks from Gaza on Monday were having political as well as security consequences, as they precipitated the breakup of talks between Ra’am and its prospective coalition partners in Yesh Atid, Yamina and New Hope.

Officials in the Islamist party told reporters that negotiations would not resume until the violence stops. They did not go into detail as to why.

Sources in Ra’am said the delay was unconnected to reports that he met two days ago with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who implored him not to join a government led by Bennett and Lapid.

Optimism in the bloc about a coalition by Tuesday evaporated, and now they are talking about after Shavuos, next week.

In the meantime, Yair Lapid tweeted: “No country can allow citizens to live under the threat of terror. Israel must act resolutely and forcefully to restore deterrence.”

Lapid also promised to back the Netanyahu-led transition government “in the war against Israel’s enemies.”

Bennett, who is holding talks with Lapid on forming a government that will see the two switch off as premier, called for Israel to respond with an “iron fist.”

“Whoever puts Israelis into shelters needs to know he will regret this,” Bennett wrote on Twitter. “We’ll back a determined response by the Israeli government.”

New Hope chief Gideon Saar issued a similar statement, calling for a strong response to the “Hamas aggression.”

Religious Zionism head Bezalel Smotrich, whose opposition to relying on Ra’am kept Netanyahu from forming a government with their support, issued a fresh appeal to Bennett and Saar to join forces with the PM.

“Put everything aside and let’s form an emergency government of the national camp today. Everything else can wait,” Smotrich tweeted.