Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to repair all the broken national accords to unite the nation which has been in a political stalemate.
Naftali has said his main areas of focus as he takes over power include education, health, and cutting red tape. He said his government”will work for the sake of all the people.”
The right-wing nationalist will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties backed by MPs in Sunday’s 60-59 vote.
He succeeds Benjamin Netanyahu who was forced out of office after 12 years.
Naftali, leader of the 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.
Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become the leader of the opposition.
During Sunday’s debate in the Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem, a defiant Netanyahu promised: “We’ll be back.”
After lawmakers voted in the new coalition government, Netanyahu walked over to Naftali and shook his hand.
In his speech, Naftali, 49, said: “This is not a day of mourning. There is a change of government in a democracy. That’s it.
“We will do all we can so that no one should have to feel afraid… And I say to those who intend to celebrate tonight, don’t dance on the pain of others. We are not enemies; we are one people.”
US President Joe Biden sent his congratulations to Naftali, saying he looked forward to strengthening the “close and enduring” bilateral relationship.
Netanyahu served five terms, first from 1996 to 1999, then continuously from 2009 to 2021.
In appearance, Naftali’s government will be unlike any which has preceded it in Israel’s 73-year history.
The alliance contains parties that have vast ideological differences, and perhaps most significantly includes the first independent Arab party to be part of a potential ruling coalition, Raam. It is also expected to have a record number of nine female ministers.