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12-year record stint of PM Netanyahu ends; Israel gets new PM Naftali Bennett

Naftali Bennet; one-time advisor to PM Netanyahu and an ultra-nationalist right-wing leader set to become the PM and lead an ideologically mixed coalition government.

Naftali Bennet is set to replace his one-time guru Netanyahu as the Prime Minister of Israel with the support of an ideologically diverse coalition government that includes members from the far-right, center, and an Arab party- Ra’am for the first time in the ruling coalition.

Naftali Bennet has a long association with Netanyahu serving as a minister till 2019 in the Netanyahu government, after which he left to form his party called Yamina. The fallout happened due to Netanyahu not being ” right enough ” according to Naftali Bennet.

The new 8 party coalition won a wafer-thin margin of 60-59 in the vote at parliament, dethroning Netanyahu being the only ideological glue between the coalition partners. Naftali Bennet’s party has only 6 seats out of the total 120. Under the coalition deal, the Prime Ministership will be a shared one with Yair Lapid a centrist politician taking on the role from 2023.

The new administration will focus more on domestic reforms and tend to go softer on the Palestinians, maintaining a modest outlook reducing tensions to maintain the fragile coalition government that has Arab partners too.

Netanyahu said he would be back sooner than expected. “If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it,” he told parliament before Bennett was sworn in.

PM Modi congratulated Natafli Bennet with a tweet:

The sentiment among the Israeli public tends to be skeptical of the longevity of the coalition as most of the parties in the coalition cannot look eye to eye on various critical issues having a huge difference in opinions ideologically.

Analysts believe that the government will last the term as the cohesion factor keeping Netanyahu out of power is strong enough. Almost one-third of the new coalition partners have a right-wing background and have worked with Netanyahu in the past. Most have left him due to his one-man show and him not respecting differences of opinions by labeling them leftists.

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