Neftali Bennett: Multi-Millionaire Likely to Replace Benjamin Netanyahu as PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents have agreed to form a coalition government in Israel, clearing the way for his departure.
Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News
Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents have agreed to form a coalition government in Israel, clearing the way for his departure. Netanyahu is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel and for the past 12 years, the country's politics has revolved around him. After Netanyahu's Likud party failed to win a majority in the March election, the number two party was invited to form the government with other allies.

He had to prove his majority by midnight on Wednesday, June 2, and shortly before the deadline, opposition leader Yair Lapid announced that the eight parties had reached an alliance and would form the government. With this, the ongoing speculation amid political uncertainty in Israel has come to an end because agreeing on an alliance was considered impossible by many In the absence of this, it would have been possible to hold elections in Israel for the fifth time within two years.

Netanyahu: They know how to win, but what will happen this time?

Towards the end of the Netanyahu era in Israel, the government should try to save Gaza Under the agreement for the alliance, the leaders of two different parties will become the Prime Minister in turn. Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, will become prime minister first. Bennett will remain prime minister until 2023. On 27 August that year, he would hand over the post to Yer Lepid, the leader of the centrist Yes Atid party.

Eight party alliance

Lepid announced the coalition, saying, "This government will work for all the citizens of Israel, both for those who voted for us and for those who did not. This government will do everything possible to keep the Israeli society united." A photo is being shown in the Israeli media in which Yair Lepid, Naftali Bennett and Arab Islamic Ram Party leader Mansour Abbas are seen signing the agreement.

Mansour Abbas told reporters, "It was a difficult decision, we had many differences, but it was important to reach an agreement." He said that "there are many things in the agreement that will benefit Arab society".

By the way,  the new government can be sworn in only after voting is done in Parliament. Yair Lapid said in a statement that he had informed President Reuven Rivlin about the alliance being agreed upon. President Rivlin has asked parliament to convene the session as soon as possible so that a vote of confidence can be held there. All eight parties would be needed to prove a majority of 61 in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, the Kniset. If the coalition is unable to prove a majority, then re-elections may have to be held there.

Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News
Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News

The new coalition in Israel includes right-wing, left-wing and centrist parties. All these parties have little political similarity, but they all aim to put an end to Netanyahu's rule. Benjamin Netanyahu called efforts to form a coalition government "the biggest hoax of a century" and warned that it would endanger Israel's security and future. He accused Neftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Yamina party, of "misleading the people". He was referring to Bennett's earlier statements promising people not to go with the forces associated with Lapid.

Charges against Benjamin Netanyahu and four elections in two years

Benjamin Netanyahu, 71, is Israel's longest-serving leader and has dominated Israeli politics for an entire period. But Netanyahu's Likud party, facing allegations of bribery and rigging, could not muster a majority in the general election held in March and could not win the support of allies even after the election. There has been continuous political instability in Israel for the last two years and elections have been held four times in two years. Despite this, a stable government has not been formed there, nor has Benjamin Netanyahu been able to prove a majority.

Yair Lapid was given 28 days to form the government after Netanyahu proved his lack of a majority, but was affected by the conflict in Gaza. Then one of his potential ally, the Arab Islamist Ram Party, withdrew from the ongoing talks for a coalition. During the 11-day fighting between the Palestinian extremist group Hamas and Israel, there was also conflict between Jews and Arabs settled there within Israel.

Role of 'Kingmaker' Neftali Bennett

Because of the proportional representation electoral process in Israel, it is difficult for a single party to secure a majority in an election.

Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News
Source: Google/ Image Credit: BBC News

In such a situation, the importance of small parties increases, due to which the big parties are able to get the figures of forming the government. As Neftali Bennett's party currently has only six MPs in the 120-seat Israeli parliament, his role became crucial in getting the opposition a clear majority.

The BBC's Middle East affairs editor Jeremy Bowen says Netanyahu's defeat was not because of his left-wing opponents, but because of his right-wing allies whom he had turned enemies for because of his tough attitude. Bowen says no one should expect big or new decisions from the new coalition. He also says that the entire focus of the coalition leaders will now be on saving their government after defeating Netanyahu.

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