Israel’s parliament confirms Naftali Bennett as new prime minister: he succeeds Netanyahu after 12 years in power

Naftali Bennett, prime minister-designate, speaks in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, during a special session in which a vote of confidence to approve a new coalition government and be sworn in will be held in Jerusalem on June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zevulun

religious extremist nationalist Naftali Bennett was elected Prime Minister of Israel in Parliament. His confirmation leads to the removal of Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 continuous years in power.

In his speech before the vote, he called for national reconciliation. “It is time to pass the leadership of the nation and the state to the next generation,” Bennett said, thanking Benjamin Netanyahu for his twelve years of service to Israel despite the contradictions between them.

Bennett intervened at the opening of the Knesset (parliament) session, while parliamentarians from Netanyahu’s party, Likud, ultra-Orthodox parties and the religious Zionist party reprimanded and insulted him, forcing him to interrupt his speech on more than one occasion. In fact, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, of the Religious Zionist Party, were expelled from the session that This national unity government, comprising eight different political parties, from religious ultra-nationalists to pacifist leftists, through secular centrists and even an Arab party was endorsed for the first time.


“When I see these interruptions, I can’t help but think that our ancestors dreamed of a situation where there would be a state and parliament and I’m proud to hear the criticism,” he said. Bennett, who will head the government for the first two years in a periodic agreement with centrist Yair Lapid, who has been tasked with forming an alternative government after the fourth elections in two years.

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Indeed, Bennett – the figure to the right of the new government – would become prime minister with only seven MPs for his right-wing party, even though his support for the Change Alliance was crucial to Netanyahu’s ouster.

“At this time, we also face an internal challenge, which is the prolonged division of our nation (…). We have pushed this drift into election after election, since the new executive was announced, softening his usual tone and leaving contentious issues aside,” said Bennett. to hatred and strife between brothers.”

In his call for national unity, Bennett pledged to “open a new chapter” in relations with the Israeli Arab population, who would be represented for the first time in government by an independent party, the Islamist Ra’am, and pledged to improve security and education. and obtaining housing for that minority.

“I am proud to sit (in government) alongside people who have very different opinions. At this crucial moment, we are holding ourselves accountable,” Bennett said.

For his part, Lapid, his partner in government who will succeed him in the post in 2023, chose to skip his planned speech and only apologize to his 86-year-old mother, who is in the room, for making her go to witness such a turbulent government transition.

I wanted her to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Rather, it is ashamed of you, along with all citizens of Israel, and you vividly remember why it is time to replace you,” Lapid said, referring to Likud lawmakers and their partners who shouted and berated coalition members.

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Netanyahu promises to return

Netanyahu, an observer during a special Knesset session
Netanyahu, an observer during a special Knesset session

“If we are destined to be in the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we topple this dangerous government,” Netanyahu declared. during a tense parliamentary session.

In his address to the camera, he claimed the achievements of his last years, adding that a million people voted for his Likud party in the March elections to form an executive body and asserting that the newly appointed prime minister, the ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett, had no legitimacy for a position in a coalition he deemed “weak” in the face of enemies like Iran.

Netanyahu Bennett was accused of committing the “largest fraud in the history of Israel.” And he reneged on his promises to his right-wing voters, something “the people will not forget.”

The former Prime Minister has now indicated that he has already managed to return to the government after being in the opposition twice before, He stressed that the members of the new coalition will not “silence” Likud voters and the rest of the right-wing parties and the Haredim allied to them. “With my colleagues in the Likud and the right, we have turned Israel into a real and global power in many areas, and we have done so without yielding to international pressures and strengthening our technological, diplomatic and security strength,” he added.

With information from AFP and EFE

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