Israel: Netanyahu’s opponents agree coalition government
In a raucous session in which Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing and ultra-Orthodox supporters shouted “shame” and “liar” at Mr Bennett, parliament voted confidence in his new administration by a razor thin 60-59 majority. Following his defeat, Mr Netanayahu pledged he would soon return to power. US President Joe Biden said the United States remained committed to Israel’s security and would work with its new government.
Mr Bennett – former defence minister and a high-tech millionaire – was due to be sworn in shortly after the vote.
He pledged to be prime minister for “all Israelis” and said: “Thank you, Benjamin Netanyahu, for your lengthy and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel.”
His alliance includes for the first time in Israel’s history a party that represents its 21 percent Arab minority.
With little in common except for a desire to end the Mr 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.
Benjamin Netanyahu loses 12-year hold over Israel
Nationalist Naftali Bennett
Israel’s longest-serving leader, Mr 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, Mr 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.
Centrist Yair Lapid
Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Mr Netanyahu.
The former Israeli prime minister was previously dubbed the “Trump before Trump”.
Mr Netanyahu’s unofficial biographer Anshel Pfeffer told Sky News: “He was Trump before Trump.
“He is a constant campaigner, he’s basically running for re-election the whole time. He doesn’t take a break between elections.
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“So many of the populist politicians we talk about today – Orban in Hungary, Boris Johnson; Netanyahu was doing a lot of what they are doing now long before they were on the scene.
“Probably the only politician who was doing this in the television era before Netanyahu is Silvio Berlusconi in Italy.”
He continued: “Netanyahu is the most divisive prime minister in history, he has exploited every divide in Israeli society between Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, left and right.
“All these all these divides have been exploited and the communities have been played off against each other to keep him in power.
Benjamin Netanyahu ousted
“That’s something that Israeli society will be paying the price for years to come.”
Ehud Olmert, Mr Netanyahu’s predecessor, said the two were “never friends” and said he never liked him.
He said: “I never liked him. I never felt close to him.
“I never felt that he is a genuine human being [but] I thought it was a highly talented performer, the greatest that I’ve met in modern politics.
US President Joe Biden
“He’s a genius.
“I mean, there will be no one that can compete with him in on television. Laurence Olivier?”
He continued: “He’s a great performer, but when you look at the substance of things, the divisions within the Israeli society today are greater than ever before.”