Naftali Bennet became the new prime minister of Israel on Sunday, after getting the vote of confidence by a narrow margin of just 60 votes to 59. His win marks an end to a 12-year long rule by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as the country’s longest-running leader.
After running for four elections in two years, Bennet’s government will break an extensive political gridlock in becoming the first Arab party to serve the government. In his speech before the confidence vote, Naftali Bennet took pride in the diversity and cautioned the public of polarization within the country.
“Twice in history, we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation were not able to sit with one another and compromise, “said the newly elected prime minister. In light of the country’s problems, Bennet touted his ability to “sit together with people with very different views from my own.”
U.S President Joe Biden sent a congratulatory message to Bennet in his opening statement about the political circumstances in Israel, saying he was eager to work and form amicable partnerships with the new prime minister.
He also made a call to Naftali Bennet, where the two agreed to “consult closely on all matters related to regional security, including Iran,” confirmed the White House. The White House also said the President aims to work closely with the Israeli administration to augment efforts directed to improve peace, safety, and prosperity for the people of Israel and Palestine.
A statement issued by Bennet’s office confirmed the leader’s emphasis on fostering a friendly association between Israel and the U.S and keeping the security of the state of Israel in check. According to the readout of the call, Bennet also expressed his gratitude for Biden’s immeasurable support during the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
During Naftali Bennet’s political career, he has served a variety of roles, including the defense minister, education minister, and economy minister. However, it was always under the leadership of Netanyahu. The onset of Bennet’s political career began with him assuming the position of Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff.
Thus, Bennet replacing his former boss has left a mark on the facet of political history. Despite his unanticipated victory, the new prime minister’s success would wholly depend on his flaunted “ability” of bridging the gap between different parties in the alliance. If his efforts in reaching a compromise remain futile, Bennet’s hard-earned victory might come to an end before it even begins.
Whilst Naftali Bennet rejoiced at his success, the former prime minister remained acerbic about his loss to a former candidate of his own. Often called the “magician” of Israeli politics, Netanyahu has undoubtedly fought hard to maintain his position in the office.
But on this fateful night, his opponents outnumbered his supporters by far. He not only denounced the new prime minister but also issued a final warning to his enemies, claiming “We’ll be back soon.”