After a record 12 years under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel entered a new era on Sunday, voting in a motley coalition united by animosity towards “Bibi” and installing his one-time protege Naftali Bennett as the prime minister.
Sixty members of the Knesset voted in favour of the ideologically divided alliance and 59 against, with one abstention. Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years, after which coalition architect, centrist Yair Lapid, will take over.
Earlier in the day, Bennett said that renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would be a major mistake.
In a speech to parliament prior to the vote, Bennett said that Israel remains ready to act against Iran. “Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” Bennett said. “Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action.” The strong comments maintain the confrontational policy by Netanyahu.
Nonetheless, Bennett thanked President Joe Biden and the US administration for supporting Israel over the decades. Bennett’s new government was sworn into office late on Sunday.
The Knesset voted in favor of the coalition put together by Lapid with the aim of terminating Netanyahu’s 12 years at the helm.