Israel’s Knesset set to vote on new government, ending Netanyahu’s rule

Israel’s Knesset set to vote on new government, ending Netanyahu’s rule

13 June 2021 02:33 pm

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record 12-year hold on power was 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 his departure.

Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years.

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 and an Orthodox Jew, tweeted a photograph of himself at prayer, captioned with a Biblical blessing. He will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, a former TV host, takes over.

They will head a government comprising parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time one that represents Israel's 21% Arab minority. They plan largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians, andto 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.

REUTERS