JERUSALEM: For the first time in 12 years, Israelis woke up on Monday to a new administration and a new prime minister following Naftali Bennett grasped the support of parliament and ousted longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu.
The two would hold a handover meeting later that day, but without the formal ceremony traditionally associated with a change of government.
The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on Sunday approved the new coalition government led by Bennett, which ended Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule. The divisive former prime minister, the longest-serving, will now serve as opposition leader.
David Bitan, a Likud legislator, told Kan Public Radio that Netanyahu did not accommodate the handover ceremony with Bennett because he felt ‘cheated’ by forming the Bennett-Lapid government and “did not want to give it the slightest legitimacy no matter. ”
Beneath a coalition agreement, Bennett will operate the office of prime minister for the first two years of the course, and then foreign minister Yair Lapid, the coalition’s architect, will become prime minister.
The new government was sworn in late Sunday and was put to work on Monday morning, with ministers declaring the appointment of new ministry leaders. Outgoing President Reuven Rivlin, who is completing his term in office next month, presented Bennett, Lapid and the rest of the cabinet at his official house in Jerusalem for the official photo of the new administration. Bennett and Lapid refused to clarify to the press.
Topaz Luk, an assistant to Netanyahu, told Army Radio that the former prime minister as opposition leader “will fight this dangerous and horrific government.” “He is motivated to overthrow this dangerous government as soon as possible,” Luk said.
World leaders congratulated Bennett on being the 13th person to hold the post of Israeli prime minister.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson toasted Bennett and Lapid on forming a government and tweeted: “This is an exciting time for the UK and Israel to continue to work together to promote peace and prosperity for all.”
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who partook close ties with Netanyahu, congratulated Bennett in a tweet in Hebrew, stating he “looks forward to meeting you and deepening the strategic relations between our countries.” Modi likewise expressed his “deep recognition” of Netanyahu’s leadership.
Lapid, Israel’s new foreign minister and alternative prime minister, spoke with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and “discussed the special relationship between the US and Israel”, he addressed on Twitter.
Bennett, 49, a former Netanyahu ally who became a rival, became prime minister on Sunday after the 60-59 vote in Knesset. The motion was passed after a member of the coalition was taken by ambulance from the hospital to the parliament building to cast her vote, and despite an abstinence by a member of the Islamic Framework Party.
He heads a diverse and fragile coalition of eight parties with deep ideological differences, ranging from a small Islamic party to Jewish ultranationalists. Bennett said he prefers to repair the many divisions that divide Israeli society.
Bennett’s ultranationalist Yamina party won only seven seats in the Knesset with 120 members in March. But by refusing to commit himself to Netanyahu or his rivals, Bennett placed himself as kingmaker. Even after one member of his religious-nationalist party let him down to protest the new coalition agreement, he got the post of prime minister.
The Knesset vote limited a chaotic parliamentary session and ended a two-year period of political paralysis in which the country held four dead-end elections. These voices have largely focused on Netanyahu’s divisive rule and his ability to stay afloat on corruption charges.
Netanyahu has made it explicit that he does not intend to leave the political scene. “If it is destined for us to be in opposition, we will do so with our spines straight until we overthrow this dangerous government and return to lead the country,” he stated on Sunday.
To his patrons, Netanyahu is a global administrator who is able to lead the country through its many security challenges.
But for his critics, he has become a polarizing and autocratic leader who uses divide-and-rule tactics to exacerbate the many sectors in Israeli society. These include stresses between Jews and Arabs, and within the Jewish majority within its religious and nationalist field and its more secular and demonic opponents.