Israel parliament approves new coalition government, ending Netanyahu's 12-year rule

Marco Green
June 14, 2021

Netanyahu's supporters have interrupted virtually all of Bennett's sentences as they accuse him of betraying them. It will likely be fragile, with a razor-thin majority.

Bennett's speech is scheduled to take place when the Knesset session to vote on the proposed government kicks off at 4 p.m.

As head of the New Hope party, Saar will be bumped up to justice minister, where he will oversee the legal system and become a member of the security cabinet.

Separately, Bennett vowed to continue current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of opposing the restoration of the Iran nuclear deal - at least not in its original form.

The ex-defense minister wavered over his decision during the fighting in Gaza, but eventually decided Netanyahu didn't have enough seats to form a right-wing government and avoid yet another round of balloting, giving form to what would be the most unlikely government in Israel's history.

A new cabinet will be sworn in following a Knesset vote that saw 60 votes in favour and 59 votes against a new government, which will be formed by centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett. "We'll be back - and faster than you think".

But he suffered few if any consequences from those clashes and was richly rewarded by the Trump administration, which recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital, helped broker normalization agreements with four Arab states and withdrew the USA from the Iran deal. Biden predecessor Donald Trump left the deal, but Biden wants to return to it.

He also added that Israel will not allow Iran to be equipped with nuclear weapons: "Israel is not party to the agreement, and will maintain full freedom to act". Relations with Israel's closest ally grew even rockier when Netanyahu vigorously campaigned against President Barack Obama's emerging nuclear deal with Iran, even denouncing it in an address to the U.S. Congress.

"The government will make an effort to deepen and enhance our relations with both parties - bipartisan", Bennett said.

If Mr Netanyahu loses the vote and is stripped of high office he could face a leadership challenge within his right-wing Likud party.

His opponent, Benjamin Netanyahu, however, questioned Bennett's ability to stand up to pressure from the USA on the matter of restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal).

On the worldwide stage, with his polished English and booming baritone voice, the telegenic Netanyahu has become the face of Israel. Serving in his first term as prime minister in the 1990s and since 2009 winning four more terms in succession, he has been a polarising figure, both overseas and at home.

The 71-year-old is loved by his hard-core supporters and loathed by critics. But the former prime minister also faces corruption charges including bribery, fraud and breach of trust - allegations Netanyahu denies.

His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu's divisive rhetoric, underhanded political tactics and subjection of state interests to his political survival. Some have dubbed him "Crime Minister" and have accused him of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.

The right-wing Bennet is Netanyahu's former chief of staff.

That looked likely regarding Israel's top security concern, Iran.

Bennett listed as priorities reforms in education, health, cutting red tape to grow businesses and lower housing costs.

Now Bennett says he is joining with opponents to save the country from a period of political turmoil that could otherwise see a fifth election in just over two years.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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