Who is the new Prime Minister of Israel 2021?

naftali bennett

A motley alliance of Israeli parties on June 13 ousted Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister, and formed a new government in a seismic shift in the country’s turbulent politics.

Naftali Bennet, a right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire was to take over at the helm of the eight-party bloc, united only by their shared disdain for the hawkish right-wing leader known as Bibi.

Netanyahu, 71, in a typically combatic style, vowed shortly before his defeat that “if it is our destiny to be in the opposition we will do so with our heads high until we take down this bad government and return to lead the country our way.”

Beloved as ‘King Bibi’ by his right wing supporters and condemned as the ‘crime minister’ by his critics, Netanyahu has long been the dominant and increasingly divisive, figure in Israeli politics.

But on June 13, 2021, a vote in the Knesset legislature following weeks of intense drama ended his government with a razor-their majority of 60 to 59 in the 120-seat chamber.

Bennett, 49, in a Knesset speech before the vote, promised the new government, a coalition of ideologically divergent parties, “represents all of Israel”.

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He said the country after four inconclusive elections in under two years, had been thrown “into a maelstrom of hatred and infighting.”

“The time has come for different leaders, from all parts of the population, to stop, to stop this madness”, he said, to angry shouts of ‘liar’, and ‘criminal’ from rightwing opponents.

Bennet, a former defence minister under Netanyahu, vowed to keep Israel safe from Iran, promising that “Israel won’t let Iran have “nuclear weapons”, a goal the Islamic republic denies pursuing.

The diverse anti-Netanyahu bloc was cobbled together by the secular centrist Yavi Lapid, a former TV-presenter.

Lapid, 57, is to serve as foreign minister for the next two years before taking over from Bennet.

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