Sunday, December 5, 2021

Israel’s new PM Naftali Bennett takes over from Netanyahu

Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to unite the nation frayed by four elections in two years of political stalemate.

He said his government “will work for the sake of all the people”, adding that the priorities would be reforms in education, health and cutting red tape.

The right-wing nationalist will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties backed by MPs in Sunday’s 60-59 vote.

Mr Bennett, leader of Yamina party, will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal.

He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid, for a further two years.

Mr Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.

After lawmakers voted in the new coalition government, Mr Netanyahu walked over to Mr Bennett and shook his hand.

In his speech, Mr Bennett, 49, said: “This is not a day of mourning. There is a change of government in a democracy. That’s it.

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