On Sunday, Israel’s parliament on Sunday narrowly approved a new coalition government, ending the historic 12-year rule of 71-year-old Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Naftali Bennett, who was a former ally of Netanyahu but turned his rival, became prime minister after the 60-59 vote. Bennett, who promised to try to heal a divided nation, will preside over a diverse coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences.
Netanyahu made clear he has no intention of exiting the political stage. “If it is destined for us to be in the opposition, we will do it with our backs straight until we topple this dangerous government and return to lead the country,” he said. Netanyahu has become a polarizing and autocratic leader who used divide-and-rule tactics to aggravate the many rifts in Israeli society. Those include tensions between Jews and Arabs, and within the Jewish majority between his religious and nationalist base and his more secular and dovish opponents.
President Joe Biden congratulated the new government, saying:“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.” Biden said his administration is fully committed to working with the new government “to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”
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