Likud aims to draft Ra'am MK to sink coalition budget

Likud officials spoke to Ra'am MK Mazen Ghanaim and told him that if he votes against the budget, the opposition will pass a bill authorizing building a hospital in Ghanaim's city, Sakhnin.

Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra'am party, seen at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on April 26, 2021.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)
Mansour Abbas, head of the Ra'am party, seen at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on April 26, 2021.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH 90)

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud sought over the weekend to prevent the state budget from passing by drafting a Ra’am MK to vote against it.

Likud officials spoke to Ra’am MK Mazen Ghanaim and told him that if he votes against the budget, the opposition will pass a bill authorizing building a hospital in Ghanaim’s city, Sakhnin.

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh met on Saturday with Ghanaim about the hospital.

Ra’am officials said nothing had changed and the faction’s four MKs will all vote for the budget.

But the officials said they were angry at the coalition for holding a party for MKs and their spouses on the 65th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli Arabs in Kfar Kassem.

 President Isaac Herzog at the Kafr Kassem memorial service, October 29, 2021. (credit: Courtesy) President Isaac Herzog at the Kafr Kassem memorial service, October 29, 2021. (credit: Courtesy)

Ra’am officials downplayed a Channel 13 report about ties between an adviser to Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas and one of the leaders of Hamas. They denied that any funding from the state budget would end up going to NGOs in Gaza that are connected to Hamas.

Channel 12 reported on Friday that Abbas told a senior Likud figure – believed to be Likud faction chairman Yariv Levin – that Netanyahu needs to stop attacking Ra’am immediately.

Abbas warned that new information could be revealed that Netanyahu would not want published. He was believed to be referring to information from his negotiations with Netanyahu on joining his government.

“The next time you attack us, we will respond in a way that will hurt you,” Abbas reportedly told Levin. “If you continue lying, we will be forced to reveal the truth.”

Sources in Likud responded: “We are not impressed by such threats.”