Jerusalem(CNN) Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after successful a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, simply 60 votes to 59. His victory ends a 12-year grip on power by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the nation’s longest-serving chief.
After 4 elections in two years, Bennett’s incoming authorities breaks an extended political impasse and ushers in probably the most numerous coalition Israel has ever seen, together with the primary Arab get together to serve in the federal government. In his speech earlier than the Knesset confidence vote, Bennett celebrated the range and warned of polarization inside the nation.
“Twice in historical past, we have now misplaced our nationwide house exactly as a result of the leaders of the technology weren’t in a position to sit with one and one other and compromise. Each was proper, but with all their being proper, they burnt the home down on high of us,” Bennett stated. “I’m happy with the power to take a seat along with folks with very completely different views from my very own.”
Bennett grew to become the premier as the chief of Yamina, a right-wing get together with solely seven seats in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, making him the one prime minister in the nation’s historical past with such a small faction. By distinction, Netanyahu’s Likud get together received 30 seats in March’s election. Once once more, nevertheless, Netanyahu couldn’t cobble collectively a governing coalition with a majority of the 120 members of Knesset.
US President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated Bennett in his first assertion in regards to the political state of affairs in Israel, saying he appeared ahead to working with the new prime minister.
Biden additionally spoke with Bennett on the telephone, in response to a readout of the decision from the White House. “The leaders agreed that they and their groups would seek the advice of carefully on all issues associated to regional safety, together with Iran,” the White House stated.
“The President additionally conveyed that his administration intends to work carefully with the Israeli authorities on efforts to advance peace, safety, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”
A press release from Bennett’s workplace stated the 2 leaders “emphasised the significance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, as nicely as their dedication to strengthening ties between the 2 international locations, and sustaining the safety of the State of Israel.
During the decision, Bennett additionally expressed appreciation for Biden’s “help for Israel in the course of the current operation in Gaza,” in response to the readout.
‘We’ll be again quickly’
During the talk forward of the swearing-in, Netanyahu had assailed the coalition that ousted him from the Prime Minister’s Office after a document 12 consecutive years, calling it a “weak” and “harmful” authorities.
Long thought-about the “magician” of Israeli politics, Netanyahu had survived years of challenges to his power, outlasting and outmaneuvering his opponents. But on this evening, he had too many opponents who wished to see him gone.
After touting his accomplishments all through his years in workplace, Netanyahu assailed his rivals.
“You name your self the guardians of democracy, however you’re so afraid of democracy that you’re able to move fascist legal guidelines towards my candidacy — the language of North Korea and Iran — in order to take care of your regime,” he stated, referring to hypothesis that the new authorities would impose time period limits or make it unlawful for somebody who has been indicted to be Prime Minister.
Warning that the new authorities wouldn’t stand as much as Iran, Netanyahu warned his inner rivals and outdoors enemies, “We’ll be again quickly.”
Bennett’s path to victory appeared all however misplaced throughout 11 days of combating between Israel and Palestinian militants final month, when Netanyahu appeared to scuttle any possibilities of the opposition events forming a authorities to switch him. But Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid get together which holds 17 seats, cast the agreements between the completely different events that led to the top of Netanyahu’s grip on power. The association locations Bennett on the head of a coalition that features right-wing, left-wing, and Arab events, united largely by their need to dethrone Netanyahu.
These disparate pursuits will problem the coalition to search out widespread floor on key points, such as what coverage to pursue with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank or methods to handle the connection with Gaza. The worldwide group, together with the United States, are pushing for the renewal of a peace course of between the Israelis and Palestinians, however this authorities is ill-equipped to deal with such negotiations, since two of the events are vocally against the institution of a Palestinian state.
Instead, Bennett will focus on home points throughout his two years as prime minister, earlier than he arms the reins to Lapid in response to their coalition settlement. These will embrace the connection between faith and state, the price of residing, and high quality of life points. Israel additionally has not handed a funds since March 2018; the newly anointed authorities has three months to enact one or the Knesset will dissolve and the nation will as soon as once more head to elections by legislation.
Yet the neophyte administration may have no selection however to cope with among the thornier points. In East Jerusalem, the eviction of a number of Palestinian households in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah continues to be awaiting a High Court choice. The closing ruling was delayed in an try and avert stress and violence in Jerusalem final month, however it however sparked a sequence of escalation that led to greater than per week of battle between Israel and Gaza, leaving a whole lot lifeless, most of them Palestinians.
Throughout his political profession, Israel’s new prime minister has served as the protection minister, economic system minister, training minister and extra. But it was all the time below Netanyahu, and Bennett started his political profession as Netanyahu’s chief of workers. In changing his former boss, Bennett has already etched his title into the nation’s political historical past, particularly after years of unprecedented political stalemate.
Bennett’s success and political survival in the end rely on his capability to forge compromise between the completely different events in the coalition, even when solely on a slender home agenda. If not, he dangers ending his time as prime minister shortly after it begins.
CNN’s Amir Tal and Hadas Gold contributed to this report.