New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (Image credit: Deccan Herald)

Naftali edges out Netanyahu by razor thin majority to become Israeli PM

Israeli politics on Sunday (June 13) witnessed the biggest upheaval in recent years when Knesset (Parliament) voted out the country’s longest serving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by a wafer-thin margin of one vote–60-59–in the House of 120.

Immediately after this development, his successor Naftali Bennett took oath as the 13th person to become the Jewish state’s Prime Minister. He would be leading the 36th government in a politically instable country which was formed on May 14, 1948.

He would serve as the PM for the first two years on rotational basis. He leads Yamina, which won only seven seats in the election held on March 23, the fourth in just two years.

After over two years, he would hand over power to Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, which has 17 Members in the Knesset, and is the second largest party after Netanyahu’s Likud which bagged 30 seats.  

Curiously, this would be the first time since the creation of the Jewish state that a government enjoys the support of an Arab party, United Arab List, which has four members. However, one of its MKs, Saeed al-Harumi, abstained from the vote, in a protest centered on the demolition of Bedouin homes in the Negev.

Apart from the above three parties, Benny Gantz’s Blue and White, which has eight MPs, Labour Party, which has seven and New Hope which has six members, are some prominent constituents of the eight-party Coalition of Opposites.

Netanyahu served as the PM for 15 years—first time between 1996 and 1999 and then from 2009 till Sunday, that is for 12 long years. He was the first PM of the country to have been born after its creation.

On the other hand, Naftali, 49, comes from a family which arrived from the US and settled in Israel sometime after the 1967 Six Day War.

Lapid, his partner and the kingmaker, is a former TV personality.

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