ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

New Israeli government wins majority vote, ending Netanyahu tenure

The alliance includes for the first time in Israel's history a party that represents its 21% Arab minority.

ISRAEL-POLITICS.JPG
Head of Oposition Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and new Israel Prime minister Naftali Bennett shake hands following the vote on the new coalition at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, in Jerusalem on Sunday, June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
We are part of The Trust Project.

JERUSALEM, June 13 (Reuters) - Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as Israel's prime minister ended on Sunday with parliament approving a new "government of change" led by nationalist Naftali Bennett.

Heading into opposition, Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, pledged he would soon return to power.

In a raucous session in which Netanyahu's right-wing and ultra-Orthodox supporters shouted "shame" and "liar" at Bennett, parliament voted confidence in his new administration by a razor thin 60-59 majority.

A former defense minister and a high-tech millionaire, Bennett, 49, was due to be sworn in shortly after the vote.

His alliance includes for the first time in Israel's history a party that represents its 21% Arab minority.

ADVERTISEMENT

With little in common except for a desire to end the Netanyahu era and political impasse that led to four inconclusive elections in two years, the coalition of left-wing, centrist, right-wing and Arab parties is likely to be fragile.

Israel's longest-serving leader, Netanyahu was prime minister since 2009, after a first term from 1996 to 1999. But he was weakened by his repeated failure to clinch victory in the polls since 2019 and by an ongoing corruption trial, in which he has denied any wrongdoing.

Under a coalition deal, Bennett will be replaced as prime minister by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, in 2023.

The new government, formed after an inconclusive March 23 election, plans largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians, and to focus on domestic reforms.

Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.

Under a coalition deal, Bennett will be replaced as prime minister by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, in 2023.

What to read next
China's response was muted, with the official Xinhua news agency simply noting Tsai's resignation "to take responsibility for the party's performance in Taiwan's local elections."
Ukraine's largest nuclear complex, at Zaporizhzhia near the front lines in the south, is Russian-controlled and was previously switched off because of shelling that both sides blame on each other.
With a final climate accord already more than a day overdue, representatives of nearly 200 nations were anxious for an agreement they could bill as a step forward in the fight against climate change.