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Netanyahu needs anti-Arab and Islamic parties to form coalition

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a hearing in his corruption trial at the Jerusalem district court, on 8 February 2021. [REUVEN CASTRO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on 8 February 2021 [REUVEN CASTRO/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

For the first time in history, Israel is faced with trying to bring together an extremist right-wing and anti-Arab party and an Islamic party to form a coalition government.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud won only 30 seats in the last election and he is able to form a 52-seat bloc in the Knesset against a 57-seat bloc led by the second largest party in the Knesset – Yesh Atid led by Yair Lapid.

The bloc which forms a coalition of 61 seats will be able to form the next government.

As a result, Netanyahu finds himself only able to form a government if he brings the seven seats obtained by the Yamina Party, led by former Defence Minister Naftali Bennett, and the four seats of the Ra'am Party, led by Abbas Mansour who is a leader of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, together under a coalition.

However, Netanyahu's partners, including the Religious Zionist Party led by extremist right-winger Bezalel Smotrich, have refused to join a coalition which includes Arab parties. While Ra'am has said it would not sit in a government with Smotrich or Itmar Ben Gvir, a Kahanist member of Smotrich's party.

READ: Netanyahu initiates contact with Arab MK to form coalition government

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