Ra’am Chief: Israel Will Remain a Jewish State

YERUSHALAYIM -
Ra’am party chairman Mansour Abbas. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

MK Mansour Abbas, the head of the Islamist Ra’am party, broke with the traditional stance of Israel’s Arab parties by declaring that Israel would always be a Jewish state.

“Israel was born a Jewish state, that was the decision of the people, and the question is not: What is the identity of the state? It was born this way, and it will remain this way,” Abbas said in an interview with Channel 12 on Tuesday.

“The question is: What is the status of the Arab citizen in the Jewish State of Israel? That is the question. And this challenge does not just stand before Mansour Abbas, but before the Jewish community and the Jewish citizens,” Abbas said.

Arab parties in the past have argued Israel should be a state of all its citizens, advocating for changes to the Law of Return that allows Jews in the Diaspora to acquire citizenship upon moving to Israel.

This past summer, Abbas made history when he became the first Arab party leader to join a coalition.

From his position within the governing coalition, Abbas successfully pushed to increase funding for the Arab sector to tackle rampant crime and economic and social problems. The recently approved state budget includes $10 billion for the Arab sector to those ends.

Joint List MK and Balad Party leader MK Sami Abou Shehadeh responded by accusing Abbas of “having a split personality” and making contradictory statements in Hebrew and Arabic.

“Only a state of all its citizens can bring about justice and full equality among all citizens,” Abou Shehadeh said