Israeli coalition ousts Netanyahu as prime minister after 12 years

The Guardian – By Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem – Sun 13 Jun 2021

Far-right former settler leader Naftali Bennett to be installed as prime minister.

Israel’s longest-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been ousted from office by a loose coalition of rivals from across the political spectrum, united by their wish to end his 12-year run in power.

The opposition leader, Yair Lapid, a centrist former TV news anchor, won a confidence vote in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, by a razor-thin advantage of 60-59 seats on Sunday evening.

Lapid will not initially become prime minister. Instead, under a power-sharing agreement, his former foe and far-right advocate for the settler movement in the Palestinian territories, Naftali Bennett, was sworn in as the country’s leader.

Bennett, who has ruled out a Palestinian state and wants Israel to maintain ultimate control over all the lands it occupies, will be prime minister for the first two years of a four-year term before handing over to Lapid.

The self-described “government of change” is a mix of ideologically opposed politicians from hardline Jewish religious nationalists to a small Arab Islamist party.

Ahead of the Knesset vote, Bennett attempted to give a conciliatory speech, even as Netanyahu’s allies heckled him from their seats. The 49-year-old prime minister-designate thanked the outgoing leader for his “lengthy and achievement filled service”.

Speaking after Bennett, Netanyahu struck a different tone, first boasting that he had transformed Israel “from a marginal country to a rising force” and then slamming Bennett as weak in comparison.

Netanyahu said he would work in the opposition to “topple this dangerous government” and return to power.

Read entire article here

Posted by Teri Perticone

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