Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 years grip on power has ended with the emergence of Naftali Bennett as the new Israeli Prime Minister after winning a confidence vote with a narrow margin, just 60 votes to 59.
The new Prime Minister had joined hands with the leader of Centrist Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid to form a government that will oust Netanyahu.
Bennett’s victory has changed the narrative of the last four elections which had ended in deadlock and were seen as a referendum on Netanyahu and also ushers in the most diverse coalition Israel has ever seen, including the first Arab party to serve in the government.
In his reaction after the Knesset (Parliament) confidence vote, Bennett said: “Twice in history, we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation were not able to sit with one and another and compromise. Each was right, yet with all their being right, they burnt the house down on top of us.
“I am proud of the ability to sit together with people with very different views from my own.”
Gatekeepers News reports that Bennett will lead as Israel’s Prime Minister for two years, after which Centrist Yair Lapid would take over.
Bennett joined politics in 2006, serving as Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff until 2008.
He served under Netanyahu as Minister of Economy and Religious Services from 2013 to 2015 and as Minister of Education from 2015 to 2019.
United States President, Joe Biden has congratulated Bennett saying he looked forward to working with the new prime minister.
“Israel has no better friend than the United States,” Biden wrote in his statement.
“The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security.
“My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”