The story appears on

Page A2

June 14, 2021

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Netanyahu’s reign set to come to an end

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power was set to end yesterday when parliament votes on a new government of improbable allies in a nation bitterly divided over his departure.

The schism was evident at a raucous session of the legislature ahead of the vote.

Netanyahu loyalists, shouting “shame” and “liar,” frequently interrupted the man set to replace him, nationalist Naftali Bennett, as he spelled out the new coalition’s policies.

Netanyahu, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years.

Bennett, a hawkish high-tech millionaire, is set to head a new administration that includes left-wing, centrist and Arab legislators, which he cobbled together with opposition leader Yair Lapid. It will likely be fragile, with a razor-thin majority.

Parliament convened at 4pm local time to approve the government in a confidence vote that will follow speeches and a debate that could take about four hours. After its ratification, the new cabinet will be sworn in.

Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew, will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, 57, a former TV host, takes over.

“Thank you Benjamin Netanyahu for your lengthy and achievement-filled service on behalf of the State of Israel,” Bennett said, pledging to be prime minister for “all Israelis.”

His government, including for the first time a party that represents Israel’s 21 percent Arab minority, plans largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians, and to focus on domestic reforms.

Bennett said his government would promote economic steps toward the Palestinians.

With little to no prospect of progress toward resolving the decades-long conflict with Israel, many Palestinians will be unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett will pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.

This does seem likely regarding Israel’s top security concern, Iran, and possible friction with US President Joe Biden’s administration over the 2015 nuclear pact between Tehran and world powers. Biden predecessor Donald Trump left the deal, but Biden wants to return to it.

In his address to parliament, Netanyahu said: “If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it.”


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend