(CNN) – Naphtali Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning the confidence vote by a narrow margin of 60 votes to 59. His victory marks the end of 12 years of power for the former prime minister. Benjamin Netanyahu, The longest-serving leader in the country.
After four elections in two years, the incoming Bennett government has broken a long political stalemate and is entering into the most diverse coalition Israel has ever seen, including the government’s first Arab party.
In his speech before the vote of confidence in the Israeli parliament, known as the Knesset, Bennett celebrated diversity and warned of the country’s polarization.
“Twice in history we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation could not sit down and compromise with others. Each was right, but for that reason they burned our house over us,” Bennett said. . “
Bennett became the leader of Yamina, a right-wing party with just seven Knesset seats, the only prime minister with such a small faction in the country’s history.
In contrast, Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 seats in the March election. However, once again, Netanyahu was unable to form a ruling coalition with a majority of Nset’s 120 members.
During the pre-inauguration debate, Netanyahu continued to attack the coalition that ousted the prime minister 12 years later, calling it a “weak” and “dangerous” government. Netanyahu, long considered the “magician” of Israeli politics, has for many years challenged his authority and surpassed his enemies. But tonight, there were many enemies who wanted to see him.
After talking about the achievements he has made during his many years in office, Netanyahu attacked his rivals.
“They call themselves defenders of democracy, but they are very afraid of democracy. They are ready to pass fascist laws against the language of my candidacy, North Korea and Iran, in order to maintain their rule,” he said. The new government will impose time limits or outlaw anyone accused of being prime minister.
Netanyahu warned his new rivals and external rivals that the new government would not confront Iran: “We will return soon.”
During the 11-day conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants last month, Bennett’s path to victory seemed to have lost everything, with Netanyahu appearing to thwart any chance of the opposition forming a government in his place.
But Yir Lapid, the leader of the 17-seat Center Yash Adidas party, made cross-party deals and ended Netanyahu’s grip on power. The deal puts Bennett as the leader of a coalition of right, left and Arab parties, largely united by their desire to oust Netanyahu.
These divergent interests will challenge the coalition to find common ground on key issues such as what policy to pursue with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank of Jordan or how to manage relations with Gaza. The international community, including the United States, has been urging the resumption of a peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, but this government is incapable of handling such negotiations because both sides are openly opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Instead, Bennett will focus on domestic issues during his two years as prime minister, before handing over power to Lapid under a coalition deal. These include the relationship between religion and the state, the cost of living and the quality of life. Israel has not approved a budget since March 2018; The newly anointed government has three months to implement one or the Knesset will be dissolved and the country will again go to the polls legally.
However, the new government has no choice but to face some thorny issues. In East Jerusalem, the eviction of several Palestinian families in the vicinity of Sheikh Zarra is still awaiting a High Court ruling. The final verdict in an attempt to avoid tension and violence in Jerusalem last month was delayed, however, leading to more than a week of conflict between Israel and Gaza, killing hundreds of them, most of them Palestinians.
Throughout his political career, the new Prime Minister of Israel has served as Minister of Defense, Minister of Economy, Minister of Education and many more. But he was always under Netanyahu, and Bennett began his political career as Netanyahu’s chief of staff. By replacing his former boss, Bennett has already made his name in the country’s political history, especially after years of unprecedented political stalemate.
Bennett’s political survival and success ultimately depended on his ability to forge a compromise between the various parties in the coalition, only on a narrow national agenda. Otherwise, there is a risk that it will end as soon as the Prime Minister’s term begins.
Joe Biden Felicita a Bennett
U.S. President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated Bennett on his first report on the political situation in Israel and said he expects to work with the new prime minister.
“Israel has no better friend than the United States,” Biden wrote in a statement. “The bond that binds our people together is a testament to our shared values and decades of close cooperation, and as we continue to strengthen our federation, the United States remains insecure in its support for Israel’s security.”
“My government is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to promote security, stability and peace for Israelis, Palestinians and the entire region,” Biden said.
CNN’s Amir Tal contributed to the report.
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