The Israeli parliament approved a new ruling coalition without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party after a tumultuous session with a vote of 60 in favor and 59 against. Likud members chanted “shame” and called new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett a liar when he outlined his government’s plans.
Outside the Knesset, supporters of the new government expressed their happiness at the end of the Netanyahu government. At the Western Wall, ultra-Orthodox Jews and other opponents of the new government prayed.
First Bennett, then Lapid
The new coalition consists of ideologically different parties, as well as an Arab party. These eight parties united in their efforts to end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year presidency. The coalition has a minimum majority in Parliament with 61 out of 120 seats.
Now that Parliament has approved it, right-wing nationalist Bennett has led the country for two years. Subsequently, it will be taken over by centrist politician and coalition partner, Yair Lapid.
Lapid, 57, is the architect of the coalition and has led opposition to Prime Minister Netanyahu for the past year. Israel already recognized him as a journalist and as a TV presenter. Nine years ago, Lapid turned to politics when he founded the secular center party There is a Future.
Don’t disappear from the scene
Lapid became the second largest party and Lapid became finance minister in Netanyahu’s third government. In 2014, a quarrel arose between the two, after which Lapid entered the opposition. In this capacity, he criticized the close ties between Netanyahu and his ultra-Orthodox allies. Lapid also attacked Netanyahu over the corruption scandals involving the prime minister.
Bennett’s “Right” party is small with seven seats, but the 49-year-old politician could become Israel’s next prime minister. This is because without Bennett, Lapid would not have been able to obtain a majority in Parliament.
Angry opposition leader
According to biographer Anshel Pfeffer, Netanyahu will not be silent in the coming months. “He will become an angry opposition leader. He will think of a political comeback. He will certainly not disappear from the political scene forever.”
This was already evident from his address to Parliament before the vote. Netanyahu accused Bennett of committing “the biggest fraud in the history of Israel” because the right-wing leader ruled out forming a government with Lapid before the elections. “The public will not forget this,” said Netanyahu, who announced that he would soon return to power in Israel.