Netanyahu out, Bennett to mark new era in Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu‘s record 12-year run as Israel prime minister ended on Sunday with parliament approving a new “government of change” led by ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett.

Bennett was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59.

Netanyahu failed to form a government after Israel’s March 23 election. After four elections in two years, Bennett’s incoming government broke the deadlock with a diverse coalition Israel has ever seen, including the first Arab party to serve in the government.

Under the coalition deal, Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew and high-tech millionaire, will be replaced as prime minister in 2023 by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, a popular former television host.

US President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated Bennett in his first statement about the political situation in Israel, saying he looked forward to working with the new prime minister.

Palestinians remained defiant over what they perceived as a continuation of the previous administration, Al Jazeera reports.

The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that the change in government remains an Israeli matter and that Palestine’s demands remain the same.