Israeli parliament votes to end Netanyahu’s 12-year rule

Likud MK Nir Barkat speaks at a party conference in Tel Aviv

Likud MK Nir Barkat speaks at a party conference in Tel Aviv

Israel's parliament has approved a new coalition government, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's historic 12-year rule.

Why it matters: Netanyahu had waged a desperate but apparently unsuccessful campaign to stop a "change coalition" from joining together to replace him after an inconclusive election in March.

He called an election in April 2019 but failed to win enough support to form a new coalition government. They are likely to pursue a modest agenda that seeks to reduce tensions with the Palestinians and maintain good relations with the US without launching any major initiatives.

Though he remains by far the most influential and popular figure in Likud, he is also standing trial on corruption and fraud charges which have severely damaged his public image.

Bennett doesn't have the worldwide standing, credibility or capability to "truly object" to the nuclear deal with Iran, Netanyahu said. He said a return to the deal would be a mistake and that Israel will not let Iran obtain nuclear weapons. "Israel will not be a party to the agreement and will continue to preserve full freedom of action".

Bennett, who heads the right-wing Yamina party, is expected to thank US President Joe Biden for supporting Israel during last month's military conflict with the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Netanyahu, speaking after him, vowed to return to power.

He also said he'd rejected USA demands to freeze settlement construction and opposed Biden's plan to reopen the US consulate in Jerusalem, which handled relations with the Palestinians before being shut down by Donald Trump.

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The man, who took the French President by the arm, shouted: "Down with Macronia" ('A Bas La Macronie') as he delivered the blow. Le Pen echoed the prime minister's sentiments, tweeting that acts of violence against the president are "unacceptable".

Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, will take the helm as Israel's next prime minister if his coalition secures a majority, sending Mr Netanyahu to the opposition benches.

Israel also elected a new president last week, Isaac Herzog, following in his late father's footsteps.

"Even though it has a very narrow majority, it will be very hard to topple and replace because the opposition is not cohesive", he said.

"This is the hour that the burden of leading the nation and the country" passes to the next generation, Bennett said over the heckling of Netanyahu's allies in the plenum. He served 12 consecutive years before being ousted by the opposition coalition. In a brief speech, he asked for "forgiveness from my mother".

An official vote is expected to take place Sunday, with the new government holding its first official meeting later Sunday. After weeks of negotiations, Mr Lapid brought Yamina on board as part of a constellation of parties whose only common goal was to remove Mr Netanyahu from office. He has lashed out at the new government in apocalyptic terms and accused Bennett of defrauding voters by running as a right-wing stalwart and then partnering with the left. "People justifiably believe that they have been tricked", Netanyahu said earlier in the week.

That looked likely regarding Israel's top security concern, Iran. He has joined Netanyahu governments, including as defence minister, but also quit.

"Thank you Netanyahu for a long service with many achievements for the State of Israel, for strengthening Israel's diplomatic status and security", Bennett said in Hebrew before the Knesset on Sunday, according to the Post's Lahav Harkov.

But he suffered few if any consequences from those clashes and was richly rewarded by the Trump administration, which recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel's capital, helped broker normalization agreements with four Arab states and withdrew the US from the Iran deal.

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