With former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu forced out, Israel welcomes new leadership in PM Naftali Bennett. A staunch ring wing nationalist and former Education minister, Bennett leads a motley coalition of parties who helped oust Netanyahu.
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Naftali Bennett To Unite The Nation
Succeeding Netanyahu’s 12-year reign as leader of Israel, Naftali Bennett vows to unite his fragmented country after four elections in two years of political chaos.
His government “will work for the sake of all the people”. He also added that his priorities include reforms in education, health, and cutting red tape.
As the leader of the Yamina party, Bennett will hold the role of prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal. Afterward, he will hand over the reins to Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid, for another two years.
Meanwhile, Netanyahu will continue to serve as head of the right-wing Likud party. He will also become the de facto leader of the opposition.
‘Not A Day Of Mourning’
After lawmakers voted in the new coalition government, Netanyahu walked over to Naftali Bennett to shake his hand. Then, he promised followers that this is not the end of his political career. In Sunday’s debate in the Knesset or Israeli parliament, he promised that “We’ll be back.”
Meanwhile, Bennett assured the nation that everything was an exercise in democracy. The 49-year-old leader said that “This is not a day of mourning. There is a change of government in a democracy.
That’s it. We will do all we can so that no one should have to feel afraid… And I say to those who intend to celebrate tonight, don’t dance on the pain of others. We are not enemies; we are one people.”
Meanwhile, Palestinian representatives derided Israel’s new government. “This is an internal Israeli affair. Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.
At the same time, Hamas, the Islamist group controlling Gaza, said that their resistance remains. “It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back,” a Hamas spokesman said.
The coalition that brought Naftali Bennett to power is an unusual one. Bennett’s government is unlike any group in Israel’s 73-year history.
Specifically, the alliance includes parties that are polar extremes of each other’s ideologies. Apart from the right-wing Yamina and the centrist Yesh Atid, the coalition also includes Raam, the first independent Arab party.
Signs are pointing to a rough consensus building. Israeli policies towards Palestinians can be a flashpoint, as right-wingers Yamina and New Hope insist on Jewish settlements on the West Bank.
In contrast, Raam will always bat for their fellow Palestinians. In addition, social policies will need some agreement. Many parties will advance LGBT rights and push same-sex marriages.
The Islamist Raam won’t likely go along. In contrast, some parties will push to ease up on religious restrictions. This is something that Yamina, a national-religious party, will likely oppose.
Watch the France 24 video report on Israel: Who is Naftali Bennett?
What do you think of the new coalition government of Israel? Do you think they will last despite their differences? Or will the infighting cause more problems?
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