Naftali Bennett becomes new Israel PM

By: News Desk      Published: 12:14 AM, 14 Jun, 2021
Naftali Bennett becomes new Israel PM
New PM Naftali Bennett is the head of a small ultranationalist party. –File photo

Israeli parliament Sunday chose the new premier on Sunday putting an end to Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule, 24NewsHD TV channel reported.

The head of a small ultranationalist party, Naftali Bennett, took over as the new premier. Netanyahu has been battling an ongoing trial on charges of corruption. However, he  dismisses as a conspiracy. Around 2,000 protesters rallied outside the 71-year-old's official residence to celebrate what they believe will be his departure from office, AFP reported.

"For us, this is a big night and tomorrow will be even a bigger day. I am almost crying. We fought peacefully for this (Netanyahu's departure) and the day has come," said protester Ofir Robinski. A fragile eight-party alliance, ranging from the right-wing Jewish nationalist Yamina party to Arab lawmakers, was early this month cobbled together by centrist politician Yair Lapid.

Also Read: Who is Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett?

On Friday, all coalition agreements had been signed and submitted to the Knesset secretariat, Yamina announced, a moment party leader Naftali Bennett said brought "to an end two and a half years of political crisis".

But the ever-combative Netanyahu has tried to peel off defectors that would deprive the nascent coalition of its wafer thin legislative majority.

Bennett, a former defence minister, would serve for two years. ـWe will work together, out of partnership and national responsibility -- and I believe we will succeed," Bennett said. 

Sunday’s crucial Knesset session openned at 4:00pm local time (1300 GMT), with Bennett, Lapid and Netanyahu all set to speak before the vote. Netanyahu has heaped pressure on his former right-wing allies to defect from the fledgling coalition while attacking the legitimacy of the Bennett-Lapid partnership.

He has accused Bennett of "fraud" for siding with rivals, and angry rallies by the premier's Likud party supporters have resulted in security being bolstered for some lawmakers.