Benjamin Netanyahu had to relinquish the chair of Prime Minister after 12 years due to the loss of only one vote in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. Backed by eight small and divergent parties, the most radical Jewish leader and wealthy businessman Naftali Bennett took power in Israel on Sunday with a 27-member cabinet.
59 of 120 MPs remained with Netanyahu. 60 voted in favor of Naftali’s coalition government. Had an absent member voted for Netanyahu, a fifth general election would have to be held in two years. Still the game is not over. If Bennett doesn’t manage to handle even one of these 60 members, the game could turn around at any time.
Bennett, a 49-year-old leader of the right-wing Yamina party, was sworn in as prime minister on Sunday. Of the 27 ministers in the new government, nine are women.
Mickey Levy turns speaker
Along with the new government, the party representing the right-wing, left, centrist Arab community in the Knesset has elected Mickey Levi of the Yesh Etid party as speaker of parliament. 67 members voted in his favor. Yair Lapid’s moderate Aish Etid is the largest party in the coalition with 17 members and according to the agreement Lapid will sit as prime minister after two years.
uproar in the house
Earlier, Bennett announced the names of ministers in his government during an address to parliament and was interrupted by supporters of 71-year-old Netanyahu. Bennett said he was proud to be working with “people of differing views,” said Bennett, amid an uproar from rival party lawmakers. Bennett said, ‘We are taking this responsibility at this critical time. Apart from this government, the only option before the country was to hold more elections. This would spread more hatred and affect the country.
Members of the Likud party created a ruckus during his address and called him a criminal and a liar. In his address, Bennett also said that Israel would never allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability.
US President, Joe Biden congratulates to Bennet
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden congratulated Bennett and said he looked forward to working with him. “On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Secretary of State Jair Lepid and all members of the new cabinet,” Biden said. We will work on further deepening the ties between the two countries.
Who is Naftali Bennett
Bennett himself had been an aide to Benjamin Netanyahu before becoming PM. He was Israel’s Defense, Education Minister as well as Chief of Staff from 2006 to 2008. He had left Netanyahu’s Likud party and joined the right-wing religious Jewish Home Party, and in 2013 he reached parliament for the first time. Till the year 2019, he held several ministries in coalition governments. In 2020, he again reached Parliament as the head of the Yamina Party.
Bennett, who served in the Military Commando Unit, was born in Haifa, Israel. In 2013, he gave up US citizenship and after that he entered Israeli politics. Before joining politics, Bennett ran a tech company. He started this startup in the year 1999, whose name was Cyota. However, in 2005, Bennett sold his company to American security firm RSA for $145 million. Bennett studied law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
He has been in favor of the annexation of the West Bank territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 war. It was on his suggestion that Netanyahu started this process. Apart from this, Bennett is also known for his tough stance regarding Iran.
Iran tough stance on Palestine
There are many differences at the level of ideology in the newly formed coalition. Even after this, all the parties have decided to focus on common issues except controversial issues. The focus of all parties is on issues like the derailed economy due to the Corona virus crisis.
His opinion is quite liberal on many issues like gay rights. But he is also quite vocal with Netanyahu on issues like Iran and Palestine. He has been saying that the Palestinian Authority is the largest terrorist organization in the world. Apart from this, he has also been a bitter critic of Iran. As soon as he took power, he said that it would be a big mistake to restore the international nuclear deal with Iran. In a speech to parliament, Bennett said that Israel is ready to take action against Iran.