Muslim Politician Holds Key to Netanyahu Retaining Top Office in Israel

Mansour Abbas, 46-year-old Palestinian leader of an Islamic party, has emerged as the man who can make or break Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ambition of retaining the top elected office in his country. On Thursday, Abbas quoted from the Holy Quran in a primetime speech on Israeli National Television and said he was "a proud Arab and Muslim". 

Mansour Abbas, Israeli Knesset Member

The recent March 23 vote in Israel was the 4th in 2 years. With no single party or group of allied parties winning a clear majority, this election has also proved inconclusive like the last three. Abbas heads the Raam party that won just four seats in the latest elections for 120-seat Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Netanyahu's Likud party won 30 seats, making it the biggest party -- but a majority of 61 is required to form a government. Netanyahu has urged his former right-wing allies Naftali Bennett and Gideon Saar to "come back home" after the two ran their own lists in the last election. Saar has ruled out joining a Netanyahu government, while Bennett has not yet declared his loyalty, according to an AFP report.

Abbas spoke of crime, racism and poverty faced by Arab Israelis who make up 20% of the country's population of 9.3 million. He demanded equality and partnership with others in Israel. “Citizens of Israel, I stand in front of you in the atmosphere of the Passover and Easter holidays and on the eve of the month of Ramadan, and carry a prayer of hope, and an uncompromising aspiration for shared life on the basis of mutual respect and true equality", he said. 

The Muslim Israeli leader did not list his demands for the coalition negotiations or any concrete positions – he is open to offers. He may have made the headlines because of his speech on Thursday, but now is when he will face the real test. While the Israeli public views the speech as a message of conciliation, in the Arab community the responses were divided, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz

If Abbas chooses to join a coalition with either the right or left bloc, this will be the first time an Arab party becomes a part of the Israeli government. 

Here's a video on Israeli Apartheid targeting Palestinian citizens of Israel:


Related Links:

Haq's Musings


Riaz Haq said…
'We Look at Them Like Donkeys': What Israel's First Ruling Party (David Ben Gurion) Thought About Palestinian Citizens
Israel's first ruling party, Mapai, was torn about the status of Arabs who remained in the country after the War of Independence; almost 70 years later, the 'Arab question' has yet to be answered

The minutes of the meetings held by Mapai, which are stored in the Labor Party Archive in Beit Berl, outside Kfar Sava, attest to the deep dispute in the party over two conflicting approaches concerning the Arabs in Israel. Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and his associates – Moshe Dayan (Israel Defense Forces chief of staff 1953-1958) and Shimon Peres, at the time a senior official in the Defense Ministry – urged a policy of segregation and a hard hand against what he argued was a communal threat to national security; while Sharett and other Mapai leaders – Pinhas Lavon, Zalman Aran, David Hacohen and others – promoted a policy of integration.
Riaz Haq said…
#Palestinian citizens of #Israel rise up against brutal #Israeli occupation of #Palestine and bombing of #Gaza. #GazaUnderAttack #Jerusalem

Abir Kopty

13 May 2021 11:19 UTC |

As anger sweeps across our homeland, a clear message resounds: we are united in pursuit of one cause and all of Israel's attempts to divide us have failed

In October 2000, just as the Second Intifada was starting, I was in my home city of Nazareth protesting in the streets. I will never forget the anger that coursed through my body as a group of youths passed by carrying a protester who had been shot dead by Israeli forces.

Today, as I see anger sweep across my homeland, Palestine, from north to south, I want to ensure justice for the sacrifices people are making in order for us to live in freedom. This justice begins with putting these sacrifices in the proper context.

When Palestinian citizens of Israel took part in the Second Intifada and protested in their towns and villages, the narrative was that they were protesting the discrimination they faced in Israel as citizens, as opposed to being part of the uprising against the occupation.

This was because these protests came a few years after the signing of the Oslo Accords, which told Palestinian citizens of Israel that they were no longer a part of the Palestinian liberation cause.

This narrative was echoed by the Palestinian leadership and the international community who refused to look at our issues, from institutional discrimination to racism and apartheid, as an integral part of the Israeli settler-colonial regime.

Our problems were framed as “civil rights” issues. No one was interested in listening to the narrative of liberation.

Today, Palestinians are rising up in Akka, Lydd, Ramla, Nazareth, Haifa and dozens of other Palestinian cities and villages across historic Palestine, sending a simple but powerful message: we are all united for one cause, and all attempts to divide us have failed.

Maintaining Jewish superiority
While it might be more comfortable for some to think of Akka or Lydd in a context separate from Jerusalem or Hebron, all are subjected to Israel’s colonial project, which might differ in technicalities, but not in its supreme goal: to maintain a Jewish majority and superiority over Palestinians.

In other words, the goal is to colonise Palestinian lands and drive Palestinians out.

The recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) report A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution is important not just for its content, but also for its approach.

Finally, human rights advocates are addressing the various policies affecting all the different parts of Palestine. HRW points to several policies inside Israel that are essentially no different from what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, or other areas of the occupied West Bank, noting that “Israeli authorities methodically privilege Jewish Israelis and discriminate against Palestinians”.

Palestinian citizens of Israel, who comprise 19 percent of the population, reside on just three percent of the land. Palestinians lost most of their land after the 1948 Nakba, due to confiscation and displacement by Israel. An estimated 200,000 Palestinians are internally displaced, meaning they might live a few kilometres from their original villages, but Israel continues to deny their right of return, as it does to millions of Palestinian refugees.


Palestinians in “mixed” cities such as Lydd, Akka, Jaffa, and Ramla have been subjected to ethnic cleansing, Judaisation, and the erasure of their Palestinian identity. The village of Dahmash, between Lydd and Ramla, is another Sheikh Jarrah. Its approximately 1,000 Palestinian residents have been fighting against the threat of displacement for two decades.
Riaz Haq said…
History made as #Arab #Israeli Ra’am party joins Bennett-Lapid coalition to oust #Netanyahu. Islamists make good on promise to seek change from inside, winning billions in promised state funding for #Palestinian citizens of #Israel. via @timesofisrael

Ringed by flashing cameras in a luxury hotel in Ramat Gan, conservative Islamist Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas made history on Wednesday night as the first Arab Israeli party leader in half a century to sign a deal to sit in a coalition government.

“This is the first time that an Arab party is part of the process of forming a government. We of course hope that it works and that a government will rise after four rounds of elections,” Abbas said.

Even before Ra’am announced it was signing on, the nascent coalition was widely regarded as the widest in the country’s history, uniting parties from the left to the pro-settlement right aimed at deposing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud faction.

To make it happen, Yamina chief Naftali Bennett and centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Atid agreed to a rotation scheme, with Bennett becoming Prime Minister for the first two years.

Despite the wide spectrum of views in the so-called “change government,” Abbas said that he had agreed on numerous plans and budgets in Arab Israeli society with his counterparts in the constellation of parties seeking to topple Netanyahu.
Riaz Haq said…
Fishel BenKhald
Congratulation to Me as a Pakistani

I exported first batch of Pakistan ���� food products to Israel ���� market

Dates, Dry fruit, Spice single container. My video


Rare Trade Occurs Between Pakistan, Israel

An association of American Jews on Thursday hailed what it said was the first shipment from Pakistan of food products offloaded in Israel.

The transaction this week involved Pakistani-Jewish businessman Fishel BenKhald and three Israeli businesspeople, the American Jewish Congress said in a statement from its New York headquarters.

BenKhald lives in Karachi, the largest city in the Muslim-majority nation, where he runs a Jewish kosher certification business for food manufacturers exporting products to destinations worldwide. He disclosed the rare bilateral trade via Twitter on Tuesday.

The businessman posted a video clip of his items, including dates, dry fruit and spices, on display in a Jerusalem market. The clip has since garnered more than 640,000 views.

"I was not expecting it to be taken that big of a deal," BenKhald said in written comments to VOA, adding that this was not the first export of Pakistani products to Israel.

"The Israeli government and buyers have no problem accepting the direct shipment from Pakistan,” he said, adding that Israel does not have a problem sending payments to Pakistani banks.

BenKhald's initiative was mainly praised by his Pakistani Twitter followers, including journalists, politicians and businesspeople, some of whom asked for his advice on how to sell their products to Israel. He attempted to reply to every message.

"Congrats brother, you are doing excellent service that diplomats and politicians couldn't do," wrote Syed Wiqas Shah, a prime-time television news show host.

"Time for both the countries to initiate dialogue and for this citizens-to-citizens contact could play a vital role in bringing both the countries close to each other," wrote Zameer Ahmed Malik.

Pakistani officials did not immediately comment on the rare trade.

Islamabad does not have diplomatic ties with Israel and refuses to recognize it as a sovereign state until the state of Palestine is established — a long-running policy of many Muslim-majority countries.

But the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain forged relations with Israel in 2020 under the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords. Sudan and Morocco followed suit.

"Trade exhibits hosted by the UAE helped Pakistani and Israeli businessmen conclude a deal that enabled this week's Pakistani shipment to Israel," the American Jewish Congress noted. "We welcome this small step that can have wider implications for Israeli and Pakistani economies and for the region at large."

Pakistan is an acknowledged nuclear power and Israel is widely understood to have nuclear weapons. The two countries have held secret meetings on security-related issues since their foreign ministers met publicly in 2005. Pakistani Islamic groups and right-wing parties vehemently oppose forging bilateral ties with Israel over the Palestinian issue.

Pakistani citizens are barred from visiting Israel because the country's passport clearly says it is valid for all countries of the world except Israel.

BenKhald was among a group of Pakistanis who undertook a rare trip to Israel last year and visited the Jewish prayer site in Jerusalem known as the Western Wall. The 15-member group of primarily Pakistani Americans, who traveled on their U.S. passports, was organized by an American Muslim women's activist group in collaboration with an Israeli organization promoting ties with Muslim countries.

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort