Coalition Seethes Over Ra’am Har Habayis Demands

Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra’am Party. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The Islamist Ra’am Party’s demands for a change in the status quo at Har Habayis has given the coalition a fresh source of acrimony and infighting.

The Yamina party decried Meretz MK Yair Golan’s remark that the government was “proudly” considering Ra’am’s demand for returning Har Habayis to a pre-2000 arrangement in which Israeli police and the Jordanian-controlled Waqf would jointly determine whether non-Muslims can visit.

It was but one of a number of items that the party was presenting as conditions for its return to the coalition, after suspending its membership earlier this week over the Israeli crackdown on Palestinian terrorists and rioters.

In a statement, Yamina said, “The Temple Mount is under total Israeli sovereignty, and any decisions made will be done so in light of the security considerations of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, which enshrines freedom of religion for all.” 

Meanwhile, on Monday the coalition will try to obtain Knesset House Committee approval to formally declare Yamina MK Amichai Chikli a renegade from the party, according to The Jerusalem Post.

If the measure, submitted at Prime Minister and Yamina leader Naftali Bennett’s behest, succeeds, Chikli would have to resign from the Knesset or face being banned from running with an existing party in the next election.

The move is intended to deter former coalition whip Idit Silman and other potential rebels from voting against the coalition.

Yamina said Chikli has consistently voted against the party’s views, including in hundreds of votes on the state budget.

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