Amid Political Chaos, Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Parties Mull Uniting With Islamists

MIN READApr 13, 2021 | 20:41 GMT

Mansour Abbas, head of Israel's Islamic Ra’am party, speaks with supporters during a rally in the northern Israeli village of Maghar on March 26, 2021.

(AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel’s chaotic political climate is making an alliance between the Jewish and Islamic right, which seemed impossible only a few years ago, increasingly plausible -- so long as pragmatic heads prevail. Dominated by the ultra-Orthodox, Israel’s religious right is murmuring that perhaps it’s time to make common cause with the Islamist factions that make up the country’s other major religious movement, in the hopes that a united front could help both sides keep their long-held special privileges and fend off challenges from Israel’s secular community. On April 2, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the spiritual leader of the pro-Netanyahu United Torah Judaism party, released a statement saying that “cooperation with those who respect religion and Jewish tradition is better than those who persecute religion.” This was in reference to a potential government deal between Netanyahu’s religious-dominated coalition and Ra’am, the Muslim Brotherhood-derived Israeli Islamist party, with secular parties as “those who persecute...

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