Naftali Benet as the new prime minister of Israel. Netanyahu retires after 12 years in power

The 120-seat Israeli parliament, the Knesset, approved the new government led by Naphtali Benet on Sunday with 60 votes in favor and 59 against. This means the removal from power of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been ruling for 12 years.

Benet, head of Jamin’s nationalist party, is Israel’s first orthodox yarmulke-wearing head of government.

Yesh Atid Jair Lapid, who comes from the centrist group Yesh, will be the minister of foreign affairs until September 2023, and then he will replace Benet as prime minister.

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Broad coalition in Israel

Eight parties – right-wing, centrist and left-wing – joined the coalition, including, for the first time in Israel’s history, a group representing the Arab minority, which accounts for over 20 percent. Israel’s population. Most of them are not ideologically linked, and they all have in common that they have refused to join the cabinet led by Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

Joy in the streets of Jerusalem, photo: PAP / EPA / ATEF SAFADI

During the Knesset meeting, opponents of the outgoing Prime Minister Netanyahu gathered in the streets of Jerusalem. After the final vote gave Benet the authorities, joy exploded in the streets.

Netanyahu, who has been the longest-serving Prime Minister of Israel, will remain Likud head and opposition leader. The former Israeli prime minister, who is on trial for corruption, has stated that he will strongly oppose the new “leftist” government. In the Knesset, he announced that he would “come back here” and recalled that he had already managed to seize power twice while in opposition (in 1996 and 2009).

Against Iran

In his inaugural speech, Naftali Benet thanked Netanyahu for his service to the country and vowed never to allow Iran access to nuclear weapons.

US President Joe Biden congratulated Benet and Lapid saying he looks forward to working together “to strengthen all aspects of a close and lasting relationship” between the two countries. In a statement released by the White House, Biden said that “Israel has no better friend than the United States” and that “the United States remains steadfast in its support for Israel’s security.”

PP

source: PAP. BBC, Haaretz

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Benjamin Netanyahu hands over the prime minister's reins 12 years later.

Naftali Benet: Israel’s new prime minister


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