Perhaps the most surprising and welcome development in Israeli politics this year is the conservative Islamic party Ra’am’s declaration that it would sit in a governing coalition, either with Likud or with Likud’s opponents—something no Arab party has ever done in Israel’s history. Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh argue that this move is not a fleeting bit of political opportunism, but the culmination of a years-long effort by the party’s leader—the dentist-turned-parliamentarian Mansour Abbas—to change the nature of Arab politics in the Jewish state:
Israel’s Relations with Its Arab Neighbors and Its Arab Citizens Are Undergoing Normalization. Could the Palestinians Be Next?
Why a Government Victory in Southwestern Syria Is Bad News for Israel
Last week, Russia negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian government and rebel forces in the city of Daraa, where the initial protests that sparked the uprising against Bashar al-Assad began. The agreement ended a 75-day assault on the city, located near the country’s southwestern border, by Russian, Iranian, and Syrian forces. Jonathan Spyer explains the significance of these events: