Israel will witness formation of a new coalition government with multi-millionaire Naftali Bennett as the Prime Minister—following the Knesset giving its approval in this regard on Sunday.
The coalition — which was put together by centrist Yair Lapid – was voted through by the 120-member Knesset with a wafer-thin majority that was still enough to bring to an end veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 unbroken years at the helm.
The coalition government will highlight a rotation deal in which Bennett will serve first as prime minister, before Lapid takes over after two years.
Bennett (49), a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur and politician with hardline religious-nationalist rhetoric, is a former defence minister and one-time special forces commando, beside being the leader of the right-wing Yamina party, which has called for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
Besides being Israel’s first — premier to lead an openly religious lifestyle, to sport the kippa (small skullcap worn by religious Jewish men) and a son of American-born parents, Bennett speaks perfect English, is ultra-liberal on the economy and takes a hard line against Israel’s arch-enemy Iran.
While he shared this ideology with Netanyahu and also served in several of the Likud leader’s governments, Netanyahu on the contrary never concealed his dislike for Bennett. When the recent years witnessed tensions between the two increasing, late May saw Bennett making a deal with Lapid that resulted in the eight-party coalition approved by parliament on Sunday.