Netanyahu set to lose power as Israel’s parliament votes on new government | Eurasia Diary -

24 July, Saturday

Netanyahu set to lose power as Israel’s parliament votes on new government

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s reign as the country’s longest serving leader was poised to end on Sunday, when lawmakers will vote on a new government.
The new coalition cabinet is expected to be sworn in following a Knesset confidence vote, bringing in an administration that has pledged to heal a nation starkly divided over Netanyahu’s departure.
Netanyahu, 71, has served as prime minister since 2009, but failed to block a power sharing alliance between his two main opponents: centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and right-wing former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
Lapid and Bennett brokered a deal to split the duties of prime minister over the next four years after Netanyahu’s traditional government allies failed to coalesce around the leader following Israel’s fourth parliamentary election in two years earlier this spring.
Bennett, a hawkish tech entrepreneur, will serve as PM for two years before switching roles with Lapid, a former TV host.
The new government represents a broad political spectrum, including for the first time the Islamist United Arab List, which represent the historically disenfranchised Arab minority.
The coalition has planned to largely steer clear of addressing volatile issues in the West Bank in favor of domestic reforms.
Netanyahu will still be an opposition force to be reckoned with as the patchwork government holds only a razor thin majority in the 120-member Knesset.
After originally rising to highest seat of Israeli power in the 90s, Netanyahu won four straight terms but has remained a polarizing figure, especially amid his ongoing corruption trial.
Opponents who have long protested the prime minister began celebrating the end of an era late Saturday, demonstrating outside his official residence in Jerusalem by singing, dancing and drumming in front of a banner reading “Bye Bye, Bibi, Bye bye.”
Supporters are largely angered by the rejection of a leader dedicated to security and steadfastly opposed to giving in to outside pressure to take steps towards a Palestinian state.



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