×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - In Google Play
VIEW
×
Newsmax TV & Webwww.newsmax.comFREE - On the App Store
VIEW
Tags: Israel | Politics

Israel's New Government Gets to Work after Netanyahu Ouster

Israel's New Government Gets to Work after Netanyahu Ouster

Monday, 14 June 2021 07:49 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — For the first time in 12 years, Israelis on Monday woke up to a new government and a new prime minister, after Naftali Bennett secured the backing of parliament and ousted longtime leader Benjamin Netanyahu.

The two were slated to hold a handover meeting later in the day, but without the formal ceremony that traditionally accompanies a change in government.

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, narrowly approved the new Bennett-led coalition government on Sunday, ending Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule. The divisive former prime minister, the longest to hold office, will now serve as the opposition leader.

David Bitan, a Likud lawmaker, told Kan public radio that Netanyahu was not holding the formal ceremony with Bennett because he feels “cheated” by the formation of the Bennett-Lapid government and “doesn’t want to give even the slightest legitimacy to this matter.”

Under a coalition agreement, Bennett will hold office of the premier for the first two years of the term, and then Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the architect of the coalition, will become prime minister.

The new government was sworn in late on Sunday and set to work Monday morning, with ministers announcing appointments of new ministry directors. Outgoing President Reuven Rivlin, who finishes his term in office next month, hosted Bennett, Lapid and the rest of the Cabinet at his official residence in Jerusalem for the official photo of the new government. Bennett and Lapid declined to comment to the press.

Topaz Luk, a Netanyahu aide, told Army Radio that the former prime minister — now opposition leader — is “full of motivation to topple this dangerous government as soon as possible."

World leaders have congratulated Bennett on becoming the 13th person to hold the office of Israeli prime minister.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson congratulated Bennett and Lapid on forming a government, tweeting that “this is an exciting time for the UK and Israel to continue working together to advance peace and prosperity for all.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who shared close ties with Netanyahu, congratulated Bennett in a tweet in Hebrew, saying he “looks forward to meeting you and deepening the strategic relations between our countries.” Modi also voiced his “deep recognition” of Netanyahu’s leadership.

The United Arab Emirates, which established diplomatic relations with Israel last year as part of the so-called Abraham Accords orchestrated by the Trump administration, said in a statement that it was looking “forward to working together to advance regional peace, strengthen tolerance and coexistence, and embark upon a new era of cooperation in technology, trade, and investment.”

Lapid, Israel’s new foreign minister and alternate prime minister, spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and “discussed the special relationship between the US and Israel," he wrote on Twitter.

At a handover ceremony at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, Lapid told diplomats that Israel's foreign relations had suffered from “disgraceful neglect” in recent years, and pledged to mend relations with neighboring Jordan, the European Union, the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the American Jewry — relations that Lapid said had deteriorated under Netanyahu.

“The outgoing administration took a terrible gamble in focusing only on the Republicans and abandoning Israel's bipartisan standing,” Lapid said. He added that Israel's ties with American Jews were “the most important relationship, and the one that needs to be worked on more than any other.”

Lapid also echoed Bennett's remarks, saying that Israel remains opposed to a return to the previous nuclear agreement reached between world powers and Iran, and that it would “prevent by all means the possibility of Iran getting nuclear weapons.”

Bennett, 49, a former ally of Netanyahu turned rival, became prime minister after Sunday's 60-59 vote in Knesset. The motion passed after a member of the coalition was taken by ambulance from hospital to the parliament building to cast her vote, and despite an abstention by a member of the Islamist Raam party.

Bennett heads a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences, ranging from a small Islamist party to Jewish ultranationalists. He said he is prioritizing mending the many rifts dividing Israeli society.

His ultranationalist Yamina party won just seven seats in the 120-member Knesset in March elections. But by refusing to commit to Netanyahu or his opponents, Bennett positioned himself as kingmaker. Even after one member of his religious nationalist party abandoned him to protest the new coalition deal, he ended up with the post of premier.

The Knesset vote capped a chaotic parliamentary session and ended a two-year period of political paralysis in which the country held four deadlocked elections. Those votes focused largely on Netanyahu’s divisive rule and his fitness to remain in office while on trial for corruption charges.

Netanyahu has made clear he has no intention of exiting the political stage. “If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country,” he said Sunday.

To his supporters, Netanyahu is a global statesman uniquely capable of leading the country through its many security challenges.

But to his critics, he has become a polarizing and autocratic leader who used divide-and-rule tactics to aggravate the many rifts in Israeli society. Those include tensions between Jews and Arabs, and within the Jewish majority between his religious and nationalist base and his more secular and dovish opponents.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Headline
Israel,Politics
896
2021-49-14
Monday, 14 June 2021 07:49 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
More Articles
Join the Newsmax Community
Read and Post Comments
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
 
TOP

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved