July 26, 2021

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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 removes Benjamin Netanyahu from power for 12 consecutive years.

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 to Israel despite the differences between them.

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

(Reuters)
(Reuters)

“I can not help myself when I see these interruptions, but I think our ancestors dreamed of a situation where there was a state and a parliament, and 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 centrist Yer Lapid, who was appointed to form an alternative government after a fourth election in two years.

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In fact, Bennett, the far-right figure in 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.

“At the moment, we face an internal challenge, a protracted division in our country (…). This slide has sent us into 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 for this limited moment,” Bennett said.

For his part, Lopbitt, his ally in government and his successor in 2023, chose to skip his planned speech and confined himself to apologizing to his 86-year-old mother in the room. Witness such a tumultuous change of government.

“I wanted him to be proud of the democratic process in Israel. Instead, he, along with all Israeli citizens, 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.

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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 elections to form an executive, and that the legitimacy for a coalition government he considered “weak” in the face of opponents such as the newly appointed prime minister, radical nationalist Naphtali Bennett, Iran Isn’t it

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 in Likud and the right, we have made Israel a real and global power in many areas, without succumbing to international pressure and without strengthening our technical, diplomatic and security forces,” he added.

With information from AFP and EFE

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What can be expected from the weak and bizarre coalition that displaced Netanyahu after 12 years in power in Israel?