Naftali Bennett to be new Prime Minister of Israel

Sunday saw voting take place in the Knesset or the national legislature of Israel for proving the majority towards the prime ministership. Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the Likud Party and the sitting Prime Minister, lost the bitterly fought contest to Naftali Bennett, who leads the Yamina Party, by just one vote. Bennett is a former cabinet member under Prime Minister Netanyahu, who later broke away from him.

The vote of confidence has ended the 12-year-rule of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Israel. He is also considered by many to be the most right-wing Prime Minister of Israel. For more than a decade, his face had become synonymous with Israel across the world. Netanyahu has several successes to his credit, the latest being the Abraham Accords, making Israel ‘Vaccination Nation’ and success at the 11-day Israel-Hamas war. The Abraham Accords was the first step towards ending the isolation of Israel in the Middle East as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, Oman, and Morocco gave official recognition to Israel. Netanyahu worked under the lead of former US President Donald Trump for it. Later, when the Coronavirus pandemic struck, Netanyahu launched a swift vaccination campaign and made Israel the first fully vaccinated nation.

Now, with the pandemic and war with Hamas at the back, the primary challenge that Naftali Bennett faces is to keep his coalition together and running as it has parties that range from Israel’s ‘Far-Left’ to the ‘Far-Right.’ Also, for the first time in Israel’s history, an Arab party, the ‘United Arab List’, is a part of the ruling coalition. Thus, even though he is himself considered a right-winger, Bennett has declared that the status quo will be maintained on critical issues like Palestine. Two years down the line, Yair Lapid will take over the prime ministership from Bennett as per the coalition agreement. Lapid is the leader of Yesh Atid, a centrist political party in Israel.

Consequently, with a coalition considered fragile by experts, Israelis and the world are curious to know about the changes that Israeli policies will see under an ideologically diverse front.