The Knesset gave confidence to the government of high-tech millionaire Naftali Bennett, leader of the hard-line Yamina party, to be the first prime minister in the history of Israel with a background of the religious right, and to topple his former ally Benjamin Netanyahu, who spent 12 years as prime minister.
After a tumultuous session, today, Sunday, which witnessed chaos and the expulsion of a number of Knesset members, the latter granted confidence in the government of Naftali Bennett by 60 votes to 59. Read also A new government in Israel..Does it pave the way for the end of the Netanyahu era? An article in Haaretz: Is the new Israeli formation called a government of change? Is Washington rid of Netanyahu’s burden? Islamic interest and pragmatism in politics
Bennett will be the first to lead the government until August 27, 2023, and then Lapid will lead it until November 2025, according to the newspaper, “Haaretz.”
Who is Naftali Bennett, the former chief of staff of Netanyahu, who removed him from the premiership:
- Bennett was born in Haifa on March 25, 1972 to US-born parents, and lives with his wife Galette and 4 children in Ra’anana, central Israel.
- Bennett served in the Israeli army’s special forces unit “Sayeret Matkal” like Netanyahu.
- He entered politics after selling his tech start-up for $145 million in 2005. He later became head of Netanyahu’s bureau, who at the time was in opposition.
- After leaving Netanyahu’s office, in 2010 he became chairman of the settlement council in the occupied West Bank and Gaza.
- He took charge of the far-right Jewish Home party in 2012, which was facing the prospect of losing all of its seats in parliament.
- He succeeded in boosting the Jewish Home’s parliamentary presence fourfold, after he made a series of fiery statements about the conflict with the Palestinians.
- He called for the killing of Palestinian “terrorists” and not their release. He also said that the West Bank was not under occupation, because “there was no Palestinian state here.”
- He believes that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved, and is considered one of the most vocal opponents of the establishment of a Palestinian state.
- Despite his right-wing religious background, Bennett does not refrain from shaking hands with women and is not concerned with questions about the place of religion in the country, and he has liberal ideas about certain values, especially with regard to LGBT issues.
- In 2018, he renamed the Jewish Home party Yamina (R).
- Bennett adopts a hard-line nationalist religious rhetoric, leads the Yamina party that supports settlements and Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and calls for a hard-line policy toward Iran.
- With his assumption of the position, Bennett is the first prime minister in the history of Israel from the background of the ultra-religious, after he previously held 5 ministerial portfolios, including the Ministry of Defense in 2020.
- Despite his party’s somewhat weak result in the last elections in Israel in March 2021, Bennett was able in recent weeks to be a “kingmaker” in light of the talks that took place to form a government coalition that ousted Netanyahu after taking control of the government that lasted 12 years.