May 28, 2024

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Israeli parliament confirms Naphtali Bennett as new prime minister: replaces Netanyahu after 12 years in power

Prime Minister-designate Naphtali Bennett speaks on the Knesset of the Israeli parliament during a special session in Jerusalem on June 13, 2021, during a vote of confidence to approve and swear in a new coalition government. REUTERS / Ronen Svalon

Religious Ultranationalist Naphtali Bennett was elected Prime Minister of Israel in Parliament. His confirmation ousted Benjamin Netanyahu from power 12 times.

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

Bennett intervened at the beginning of the Knesset (parliament) session, while Netanyahu’s Likud, a member of parliament from the radical Orthodox and religious Zionist parties, scolded and insulted him, forcing him to interrupt his speech on more than one occasion. In fact, Itamar Ben Quir and Bezalel Smodrich of the Religious Zionist Party were expelled from the session. This government for national unity was recognized, uniting eight different political parties, from religious ultranationalists to peace leftists, through secular centrists and for the first time as an Arab party.


“When I see these interruptions, I think our ancestors dreamed of a situation where there was a state and a parliament, but I am proud to hear criticism,” he said. Bennett will take over as head of government for the first two years of a rotating deal with centurion Yair Lapid, who was appointed to form an alternative government after a fourth election in two years.

In fact, Bennett – the right-winger of the new government – will become prime minister with only seven representatives from his Yamina party, although his support for the change coalition is crucial to ousting Netanyahu.

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“At the moment, we face an internal challenge, the protracted division in our country (…). This slide has sent us to an election of hatred and struggle among the brethren,” Bennett said, lowering his usual high tone since the announcement of the new executive and setting aside controversial issues.

In his call for national unity, Bennett pledged to “open a new chapter” in relations with the Israeli Arab people, which will be represented for the first time by an independent party, the Islamic Ram government, and to improve security, education and access to housing for those minorities.

“I am proud to sit with people (in government) who have very different views. We are responsible at this crucial moment,” Bennett said.

For his part, Lopbitt, his ally in government and his successor in 2023, limited himself to apologizing to his 86-year-old mother, who was in the room, except for his planned speech. Witness such a tumultuous change of government.

“I wanted him to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Instead, he, with all the citizens of Israel, is ashamed of you and clearly remembers that it is time to change you,” Labid said, referring to allies who shouted and denounced Likud representatives and coalition members. Session.

Netanyahu promised to return

Netanyahu observes during a special Knesset session
Netanyahu observes during a special Knesset session

“If we want to be in the opposition, we have to keep our heads up until this dangerous government is overthrown,” Netanyahu declared. During a tense parliamentary session.

In his speech in front of the camera, he described the achievements of his last years, saying that one million people had voted for a Likud party in the March election to form an executive, and that he did not have the legitimacy to run for office in a coalition he considered “weak” against opponents such as the newly appointed prime minister, radical nationalist Naphtali Bennett, Iran. ?

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Netanyahu Bennett accused him of committing “the biggest fraud in Israeli history.” And denying the promises he made to his right-wing voters, “People will not forget.”

The former prime minister now recalled that he had already been able to return to government after being in the opposition twice before. Members of the new coalition urged Ligud voters and their allies, the right-wing and radical Orthodox parties, not to “silence.” “Together with my colleagues and right-wingers in Likud, we have made Israel a real and global power in many areas, without succumbing to international pressure and strengthening our technological, diplomatic and security forces,” he added.

With information from AFP and EFE

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