Israel’s longest-serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, has been ousted from office by a loose coalition of rivals from across the political spectrum, united by their wish to end his 12-year run in power.
Israel’s parliament voted 60-59 in favour of a new government on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year consecutive tenure as premier.
Following the announcement, Benjamin Netanyahu stated to Reuters: “We’ll be back, soon.” Netanyahu said he would work in the opposition to “topple this dangerous government” and return to power.
Ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett will head the new cabinet. Bennett, who has ruled out an independent Palestinian state and wants Israel to maintain ultimate control over all the lands it occupies, will be prime minister for the first two years of a four-year term before handing over to his centrist ally, Yair Lapid.
The self-described “government of change” – a mix of ideologically opposed politicians from hardline Jewish religious nationalists to a small Arab Islamist party – will be sworn in later on Sunday.
Reacting to the news, Hamas spokespersos Fawzi Barhoum said “Regardless of the shape of the government in Israel, it will not alter the way we look at the Zionist entity. It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back.”