The Israeli parliament – the Knesset – approved the formation of a new government on Sunday evening. For the first time in 12 years, someone other than Benjamin Netanyahu will be prime minister. This is Naftali Bennett. And US President Joe Biden congratulated him, who assured him that “the United States will remain steadfast in its support for Israel’s security.”

The 120-member Knesset, with 60 votes in favor and 59 against, approved the government headed by Naftali Bennett. The leader of the Jamin party is the first Israeli prime minister to wear a yarmulki.

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Naftali BennettPAP / EPA / Abeer Sultan

Yesh Atid Gair Lapid, who comes from the centrist Yesh group, will be foreign minister until September 2023, after which he will replace Bennett as prime minister. Despite the fact that the Israeli parliament has 17 members from Lapida and only seven from Jamina (six of them support the alliance), the two politicians agreed to rotate on the most important job.

Eight parties – right, center and left – joined the coalition, including, for the first time in Israel’s history, a group representing the Arab minority, which represents more than 20 percent of the Israeli population. Most are not ideologically connected, and they all have in common that they refused to join the government led by Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

Naftali BennettPAP / EPA / Abeer Sultan

Thousands of young people, mostly young adults, flocked to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square that evening to celebrate Netanyahu’s departure, and the city government building lit up in national colors. In turn, in Jerusalem, in front of the prime minister’s seat, several hundred people expressed their support for the politician, who still enjoys great public confidence.

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A crowd in Jerusalem The Israeli parliament approved the formation of a new government حكومةPAP/EPA/ATEF SAFADI

Previously he was a minister in the Netanyahu government, and now he will head the new government الحكومة

Netanyahu – Likud won the most seats in the March 23 elections, but was unable to form a majority with its traditional religious and nationalist allies.

The architect of the new coalition is 57-year-old Lapid. In 2012, he gave up his career as a journalist and TV presenter and founded his own party, promising to improve the economic situation of the middle class and reduce state-funded privileges enjoyed by ultra-Orthodox Jews, which have long been a source of terrorism. resentment of many secular Israelis.

Bennett, 49, has made an estimated $1 million fortune in an IT company he founded, and leads the Jamin party that advocates Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and opposes the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. He himself belongs to previous governments led by Netanyahu, incl. as Minister of Defense.

In recent weeks, Bennett has come under intense pressure from conservative voters not to join Netanyahu’s opponents. Even members of Likud, ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups and ultra-nationalist religious Zionism tried to scream when the latter began addressing the Knesset on Sunday. The security men had to take some of them out of the room.

Most women in government in the country’s history

Apart from Jamina Wish Atid, he joined the coalition: Center Blue and White, ruling from Netanyahu, secular nationalist Israel in Beitenu, Social Democratic Labor Party led by former “lice maker” Gideon Sar, Tekowa Hadash, left-wing Merit Party and the United Arab Islamic List (abbreviated in the name of Ram).

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According to the coalition agreement, the leader of the Blue and White party Beni Ganj will remain defense minister, Saar will take over as justice minister, Israel leader Beytenu Oigdor Lieberman, and Bennett’s deputy will take over the finance ministry. At Jamin, Ajjelet Szaked will be Minister of Home Affairs. Nine of the 27 ministerial positions have been held by women – the largest proportion in the country’s history.

Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, remains the head of the largest party in parliament, and has said he would vehemently oppose the new “left” government. He declared in the Knesset that he would “come back here” and noted that he had already managed to seize power twice while in the opposition (in 1996 and 2009). He also lamented that Bennett did not have enough international standing to “stand up” against Iran or the United States on matters of state security.

Congratulations from the President of the United States

US President Joe Biden congratulated Bennett and Lapid, noting that he looked forward to working together to “strengthen all aspects of the close and lasting relationship” between the two countries.

In a statement issued by the White House, Biden said that “Israel has no better friend than the United States” and that “the United States remains steadfast in its support for Israel’s security.”

Main image source: PAP / Environmental Protection Agency