Israel finally knows its new Prime Minister after almost a decade of Netanyahu’s undisputed rule. Naftali Bennett is the new name Israel and most countries in the Middle East and beyond it will hear more from in the coming years.
The new prime minister succeeded in securing 60 votes in Knesset, as opposed to 59 votes the supporters of Netanyahu cast. One member of the parliament abstained.
Shortly after counting the ballots finished, former 12-year prime minister, Netanyahu, greeted his opponent and the new prime minister. The two shook hands in front of the cameras. Soon after the session, nevertheless, Bibi, Netanyahu’s nickname, turned to Twitter, telling his followers to stay strong and retain their faith in the move. He promised to return not a long time later.
“I ask you: do not let your spirit fall. We’ll be back – and faster than you think,” Netanyahu said in Twitter.
Soon after the specification of the new prime minister, Joe Biden congratulated the winner. US president released a statement in which he welcomed more cooperation.
“Israel has no better friend than the United States. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security,” Biden said in the statement.
The new government consists of eight parties. The coalition has decided to postpone important policies on contentious matters such as East Jerusalem, West Bank, and settlements.
Netanyahu; The Crime Minister
The removal of Israel’s most renowned PM in recent history occurred only after a coalition of unconventional partners from different ideological landscape, united. The common sense among these divisive groups was one thing; Netanyahu should leave the office. But why? what is behind the intense resentment against Netanyahu among his former supporters and allies?
The 71-year former PM has taken the power in Israel in two separate period of time. In late 1990s, Netanyahu worked as PM for three years. For a second time, Netanyahu took the office in 2009 and kept it for 12 years.
Netanyahu has used his tenure in power to accelerate the expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank. He also resisted against Palestinian statehood and intensified the tensions inside and outside Israel. During his years, multiple full-scale wars erupted with Palestinians.
Throughout his career, both in 1990s and during the past twelve years, Netanyahu has faced multiple corruption allegations. Israeli Police in 1997 drafted the indictment of Netanyahu on corruption allegations for “influence peddling”. Designation of an attorney general who exerted influence to cut the charges was among his main allegations. prosecutors, however, announced that lack of evidence ruled out the trial.
The 12-year PM was embroiled in another allegation in 1999. Israeli Police once more alleged him with receiving services from a state contractor worth more than $100,000; Israel’s attorney general declined to prosecute, citing evidentiary problems.
Similar charges of corruption including bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in the two cases are still open for Netanyahu. He was officially indicted on bribe and fraud charges in November 2019. Exerting influence and pressure on judicial sectors, the former PM escaped the trial.
The New Prime Minister with A Fragile Coalition
Former Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Naftali Bennett will work as PM for two years. The coalition agreement delivers the baton to Lapid for a second two-year period.
While Yesh Atid, Lapid’s centrist party won twice as many seats in the Parliament as its right-wing collaborators in Yamina, Lapid decided to let Bennett serve the first term in order to avoid extremists on the right to exert influence to lead the coalition to failure.
Netanyahu, along with loads of other right-wing activists in Israel, accused Bennett of beaching the commitment to right-wing ideals and betraying the voters. The inclusion of the Arab Parties, for the first time, in a government coalition that secured only half of seats may prove more fragile than the former one between Netanyahu and Gantz.
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