Netanyahu Out: Parliament Elects New Israeli Government

Israel welcomes a new prime minister for the first time in more than a decade after parliament voted for a new coalition government, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power.

Right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett left Mr. Netanyahu out of his long term after being sworn in as prime minister.

Mr. Bennett will lead a “government of change” with an unprecedented coalition of parties approved in a 60-59 vote with one minister abstaining. The newly-elected prime minister will be in office until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing agreement.

Then, he will hand over power to centrist Yesh Atid’s leader Yair Lapid for two more years.

Mr. Netanyahu was Israel’s longest-serving leader, dominating its political landscape for years. He will remain the head of the right-wing Likud party, also becoming the opposition leader.

“We will be back,” a defiant Mr. Netanyahu vowed during the debate in parliament, known as the Knesset in Israel.

After the vote, the former prime minister approached Mr. Bennett to shake his hand. However, Palestinian representatives have reacted with disdain to the new Israeli government’s formation.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said: “This is an internal Israeli affair.”

“Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” he added. Besides, a spokesman for Hamas, the nationalist and Islamist group that controls Gaza, stated: “It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back.”

United States President Joe Biden sent a congratulatory message to Mr. Bennett, saying that he looks forward to working with his government.

Mr. Bennett has stated that his government would avoid contentious matters since it would focus on areas where it is possible to reach agreements, such as the coronavirus pandemic or economic issues. Recently, he expressed: “Nobody will have to give up their ideology but all will have to postpone the realization of some of their dreams… We’ll focus on what can be achieved, rather than arguing about what cannot.”

It is said that the new Israeli prime minister’s term will not resemble any of those that have preceded it in Israel’s seven decades of history.