World Israel’s Knesset to vote on new government, end Netanyahu’s reign
Israel eyes end of an era after Netanyahu foes strike deal
Israelis eyed the end of an era Thursday after a motley alliance of parties from across the political spectrum agreed to form a government to unseat veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Hermann, the political scientist, said Benjamin Netanyahu could still thwart the coalition, but "it's not highly likely."Opposition leader Yair Lapid announced the deal just minutes before a midnight (2100 GMT) Wednesday deadline, prompting celebrations into the early hours by the premier's opponents and a defiant show of support by his fans.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power is set to end on Sunday when parliament votes on a new government, ushering in an administration that has pledged to heal a nation bitterly divided over the departure of the country’s longest serving leader.
Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after Israel’s March 23 election, its fourth in two years.
Benjamin Netanyahu Tells Lawmakers to Oppose 'Dangerous Leftist Government' as He Faces Removal
Opponents of Netanyahu asked parliament on Thursday for a speedy vote to officially remove him from office. Just hours before, Yair Lapid and coalition partner Naftali Bennett announced they had finalized a deal that would allow them to gain a majority in parliament and build the new government. The coalition is an alliance of eight parties that vary on the political spectrum but share a common objective of ending Netanyahu's 12-year tenure. Some coalition advocates are former allies of Netanyahu, while others fall into groupings such as center-left parties and a previously unseen Arab faction in Israel.
The new cabinet, which will be sworn in after a Knesset confidence vote it is expected to win, was cobbled together by the centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett.
Bennett, a hawkish hi-tech millionaire, will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, a former popular TV host, takes over.
They will head a government that comprises parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time one that represents the 21 percent Arab minority. They plan largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians while they focus on domestic reforms.
With little to no prospect of progress toward resolving the decades-long conflict with Israel, many Palestinians will be unmoved by the change of administration, saying Bennett will likely pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.
Israel crunch vote looms as anti-Netanyahu bloc seeks power
Israel's parliament was to decide Monday when parties united against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be able to make their bid to topple him, but the combative incumbent has refused to go without a fight. Tensions were high a day after Netanyahu accused his opponents of "the greatest election fraud" in the history of democracy, while his rival Naftali Bennet urged him to "let go" rather than wage a last-ditch "scorched earth" campaign.Tensions were high a day after Netanyahu accused his opponents of "the greatest election fraud" in the history of democracy, while his rival Naftali Bennet urged him to "let go" rather than wage a last-ditch "scorched earth" campaign.
Bye bye Bibi?
With his polished English and booming baritone voice, 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 abroad and at home.
Often referred to by his nickname Bibi, Netanyahu is loved by his hard-core supporters and loathed by critics. His ongoing corruption trial, on charges he denies, has only deepened the chasm.
His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric, underhanded political tactics and subjection of state interests to his own political survival. Some have dubbed him ‘Crime Minister’ and have accused him of mishandling the coronavirus crisis and its economic fallout.
Celebrations by his opponents to mark the end of the Netanyahu era began late on Saturday outside his official residence in Jerusalem, the site of weekly protests against the right-wing leader for the past year, where a black banner stretched across a wall read: “Bye Bye, Bibi, Bye bye”, and demonstrators sang, beat drums and danced.
Israel Drops Benjamin Netanyahu but Democrats and Palestinians See Little Hope
A new coalition will end Netanyahu's long reign, but U.S.-Israeli tensions will remain over the fate of the Palestinians.A tough, controversial, calculating politician, Netanyahu has become symbolic of the rightward shift of Israeli politics of recent decades. But that conservative sentiment is bigger than any one politician, and his departure is not a sign that Israel is pivoting away from the status quo Netanyahu has helped craft.
But for Netanyahu’s large and loyal voter base, the departure of “King Bibi” as some call him, may be difficult to accept. His supporters are angered by what they see as the country turning its back on a leader dedicated to its security and a bulwark against international pressure for any steps that could lead to a Palestinian state, even as he promoted diplomatic deals with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
None of those moves, however, nor the role he played in securing COVID-19 vaccines for the country’s world-beating inoculation campaign, were enough to grant Netanyahu’s Likud party enough votes to secure him a sixth term in office.
Bennett in particular has drawn anger from within the right-wing camp for breaking a campaign pledge by joining forces with Lapid. He has justified the move by saying another election, which would likely be called were no government formed, would have been a disaster for Israel.
Both he and Lapid have said they want to bridge political divides and unite Israelis under a government that will work hard for all its citizens.
Their cabinet faces considerable diplomatic, security and financial challenges: Iran, a fragile ceasefire with Palestinian groups in Gaza, a war crimes probe by the International Criminal Court, and economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic.
On top of that, their patchwork coalition of parties commands only a razor-thin majority in parliament, 61 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, and will still have to contend with Netanyahu – who is sure to be a combative head of the opposition.
And no one is ruling out a Netanyahu comeback.
Who Is Naftali Bennett? Benjamin Netanyahu Replacement Sees Israel Shift Further Right .
Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett once described himself as being "more right-wing" than his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu.Bennett, a 49-year-old adherent to Orthodox Judaism, is widely perceived as a religious ultra-nationalist politician. He has acknowledged being "more right-wing" than Netanyahu, whose coalition governments saw Bennett hold multiple ministerial roles. Bennett has served as minister of economy and religious services, diaspora affairs, education, and defense. When Netanyahu was opposition leader from 2006 until 2008, Bennett worked as his chief of staff.