Massive allocations to Israel's Arab sector here to stay - Abbas

MK Mansour Abbas said he proved he is changing not only politics but also Israeli society. From now on, he said it will be natural that Arab parties will be in governing coalitions.

 Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen and Ra'am head Mansour Abbas are seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2021. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen and Ra'am head Mansour Abbas are seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on October 25, 2021.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Ra’am (United Arab List) head Mansour Abbas took credit for more than NIS 30 billion allocated to the Arab sector, and said the allocations would have an immediate positive impact on all parts of Arab, Bedouin and Druze society.

“There is a new agenda for Israel and Arab society,” Abbas said at a Knesset news conference on Monday. “We are taking responsibility and initiative. These plans implement the vision of Ra’am.”

Abbas said he proved he is changing not only politics but also Israeli society. From now on, he said, it will be natural that Arab parties will be in governing coalitions.

He dismissed criticism that he was being paid off for keeping the narrow government of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in power.

He said the Arab sector deserves what was allocated in order to bridge the gaps with Jewish communities, and that the Israeli economy as a whole would be helped by the allocations.

PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and MK Mansour Abbas in the Knesset. This week, various members of the coalition – foremost Abbas’s Ra’am party – signaled that they may not vote for the budget if certain conditions were not met. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett and MK Mansour Abbas in the Knesset. This week, various members of the coalition – foremost Abbas’s Ra’am party – signaled that they may not vote for the budget if certain conditions were not met. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Abbas said he did not believe he would become a minister in the current government, but he did not rule out joining a government in the future.

But the heads of the Joint List downplayed Abbas’s accomplishments in the budget.

Joint List leader Ayman Odeh noted that the budget does not allocate funding for building a new Arab town, but it does call for building 9,000 housing units for Jews in Jerusalem over the pre-1967 border.

Odeh called the budget “cruel” and “dangerous,” and Joint List faction chairman Ahmad Tibi called it a “missed opportunity, with Ra’am, Labor and Meretz in the government.”

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the allocations to the Arab sector.

“Bennett is transferring massive sums to the Islamic Movement in order to survive politically,” Netanyahu said. “For this, he has money. Not for soldiers, not for doctors, not for lowering taxes.”

Said Social Equality Minister Meirav Cohen (Yesh Atid): “What matters most is hope, and what the government passed provides the Arab sector a lot of hope.”