© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks throughout a ceremony to indicate appreciation to the well being sector for his or her contribution to the combat in opposition to the coronavirus illness (COVID-19), in Jerusalem June 6, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun


By Maayan Lubell and Jeffrey Heller

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year maintain on energy was set to finish on Sunday when parliament votes on a brand new authorities of unbelievable allies in a nation bitterly divided over his departure.

The schism was evident at a raucous session of the legislature forward of the vote.

Netanyahu loyalists, shouting “disgrace” and “liar”, steadily interrupted the person set to interchange him, nationalist Naftali Bennett, as he spelled out the brand new coalition’s insurance policies.

Netanyahu, essentially the most dominant Israeli politician of his technology, had did not type a authorities after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years.

Bennett, a hawkish hi-tech millionaire, is about to move a brand new administration that features left-wing, centrist and Arab legislators, which he cobbled along with opposition chief Yair Lapid. It can probably be fragile, with a razor-thin majority.

Parliament convened at 4 p.m. (1300 GMT) to approve the federal government in a confidence vote that may comply with speeches and a debate that would take about 4 hours. After its ratification, the brand new cupboard will probably be sworn in.

Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew, will function premier for 2 years earlier than Lapid, 57, a former TV host, takes over.

“Thanks Benjamin Netanyahu on your prolonged and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel,” Bennett mentioned, pledging to be prime minister for “all Israelis”.

His authorities, together with for the primary time a celebration that represents Israel’s 21% Arab minority, plans largely to keep away from sweeping strikes on hot-button worldwide points equivalent to coverage towards the Palestinians, and to give attention to home reforms.

Bennett mentioned his authorities would promote financial steps towards the Palestinians however any violence by Palestinians could be met by a powerful response.

With little to no prospect of progress towards resolving the decades-long battle with Israel, many Palestinians will probably be unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett will pursue the identical right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.

This does appear probably concerning Israel’s high safety concern, Iran – and potential friction with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration over the 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and world powers. Biden predecessor Donald Trump left the deal, however Biden needs to return to it.

“Renewal of the nuclear settlement with Iran is a mistake, an error that will once more grant legitimisation to one of many darkest and violent regimes on this planet,” Bennett mentioned. “Israel is not going to permit Iran to equip itself with nuclear weapons.”

Thanking Biden for his “years of dedication to Israel’s safety”, and for “standing by Israel” throughout preventing with Hamas militants in Gaza final month, Bennett mentioned his authorities would pursue good relations with U.S. Democrats and Republicans.

“The federal government will make an effort to deepen and improve our relationships with each events – bipartisan,” Bennett mentioned.

In his handle to parliament, a combative Netanyahu mentioned: “If we’re destined to enter the opposition, we are going to accomplish that with our heads held excessive till we are able to topple it.”

Bennett would not have the worldwide standing, credibility or functionality to “really object” to the nuclear cope with Iran, Netanyahu mentioned.


On the worldwide stage, along with his polished English and booming baritone voice, the telegenic Netanyahu has turn into the face of Israel. Serving in his first time period as prime minister within the Nineties and successful 4 extra phrases in succession since 2009, he has been a polarising determine, each overseas and at dwelling.

Usually referred to by his nickname Bibi, Netanyahu is liked by his supporters and loathed by critics. His ongoing corruption trial – on expenses he denies – has solely deepened the rift.

His opponents have lengthy reviled what they see as Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric, underhand political ways and subjection of state pursuits to his personal political survival. Some have dubbed him “Crime Minister” and have accused him of mishandling the coronavirus disaster and its financial fallout.

Bennett has drawn anger from throughout the right-wing camp for breaking a marketing campaign pledge by becoming a member of forces with Lapid – and an allegation from Netanyahu that he defrauded the citizens. Bennett has mentioned one other election – a probable final result if no authorities have been fashioned – would have been a catastrophe for Israel.

Each Bennett and Lapid, who additionally addressed parliament, have mentioned they need to bridge political divides and unite Israelis below a authorities that may work onerous for all its residents.

They drew some cheers and applause in the course of the session amid continuous heckling from their opponents.

Their cupboard faces big international, safety and monetary challenges: Iran, a fragile ceasefire with Palestinian militants in Gaza, a battle crimes probe by the Worldwide Legal Courtroom, and financial restoration following the coronavirus pandemic.

Bennett listed as priorities reforms in schooling, well being, slicing pink tape to develop companies and decrease housing prices. Coalition leaders have mentioned it could go a two-year finances to assist stabilise the nation’s funds and keep a “establishment” on points of faith and state.