Ra'am on board for budget, while Chikli set to be punished for rebelling

Yamina intends to begin process of preventing rebel MK from running with Likud in future elections

RIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett chats with United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas during a special session of the Knesset to swear in the new coalition government, in Jerusalem on Tuesday.  (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
RIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett chats with United Arab List leader Mansour Abbas during a special session of the Knesset to swear in the new coalition government, in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)

The state budget for 2021 and 2022 and its accompanying economic arrangements bill will pass by one vote, 61-59, Ra’am (United Arab List) leader Mansour Abbas predicted Sunday.

The four MKs of his faction would vote for every clause of the budget, despite rumors to the contrary and tremendous political pressure, he said.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday also said he was confident the budget would pass this week.

“This week will end with a budget behind us and a great prosperity,” Bennett said on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion Airport before boarding a flight to Glasgow, Scotland, where he will participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP26).

“Once the budget passes this week, it buys many years of stability for the government,” he said.

 Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the faction meeting on Monday (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu speaks in the faction meeting on Monday (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Abbas blamed negative reports about his party and allegations that a close friend had funneled state money to Hamas on leaks from opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu. He referred to the Likud leader by the moniker “Abu Yair,” which he used when he campaigned in the Arab sector.

“As a fateful week for the state and its citizens begins, Netanyahu is drafting all his tentacles for a campaign of incitement, mudslinging, rifts and false accusations,” Abbas wrote on Twitter. “None of it will succeed. The citizens of the state only believe the legal establishments that Netanyahu worked for years to weaken. Abu Yair, you’re invited to go to the legal authorities, instead of leaks and briefings full of lies.”

Abbas said his party was completely clean, contrasting himself with Netanyahu, who he said is facing three indictments for corruption. No allegations would have come from Likud if his party would have entered a Likud-led coalition, which he said was negotiated not only this year, but also following the April 2019 election.

Ra’am faction chairman Waleed Taha went further, saying the campaign against his party was planned when the coalition negotiations fell through.

“There has been a wild effort to delegitimize and incite against Arab society,” he said. “Those behind it negotiated with us to form a government. When they failed to do it politically, they shifted to lies, mudslinging and false accusations. They are belittling the intelligence of the public.”

The Ra’am faction gave up on its request for a controversial bill that would hook up illegally built homes to the national electricity grid to be passed into law before the budget.

“We are not worried,” Taha said. “I have no doubt that the bill will pass after the budget.”

The Joint List is expected to vote against the budget, as is renegade Yamina MK Amichai Chikli.

Immediately after the passage of the budget, Yamina intends to begin the process of preventing Chikli from running with the Likud in the next election.

Yamina will ask the Knesset House Committee to formally declare Chikli as having rebelled against his party. If he does not quit the Knesset before the proposal is passed, he would be banned from running in the next election with any of the factions currently represented in the Knesset, including the Likud.

Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.