Israeli government approved to end Netanyahu’s era

(Update 1: Adds that the government was approved)

Jerusalem, Jun 13 (EFE).- The Israeli parliament on Sunday approved the new government made up of an eight-way coalition, a move that ousts Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

The new government, which obtained 60-59 votes in the Knesset with one legislator abstaining, will be presided over by far-right Yamina party leader Naftali Benet during the first couple of years and then by the head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, for another two-year period through 2025.

The vote came after a tense parliamentary session in which Benet called for unity and national reconciliation, while Netanyahu vowed to work to “topple” the government as opposition leader heading the conservative Likud party.

“This is a special moment. The moment in which the baton of leading the people and the country passes to the next generation,” Benet said, expressing gratitude to Netanyahu for the 12 years he spent in office.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, said, “I will lead you in a daily struggle against this dangerous left-wing government to topple it, and with God’s help, it will happen much faster than you think.”

Benet, a successful businessman turned settler leader, will adopt a religious ultranationalist agenda during his time as prime minister until 2023.

Then, former journalist Lapid, known for his secular position and more conciliatory discourse, will take over until 2025.

Benet and Lapid will also each serve as foreign minister while the other holds the premiership.

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, who almost dethroned Netanyahu in three straight elections, will keep his position as defense minister.

Avigdor Lieberman, the former defense minister and leader of Yisrael Beitenu, will take head the Finance Ministry.

The Soviet-born Israeli politician was part of Netanyahu’s Likud party in the late 1990s and played a key role in the dissolution of the 2018 government.

Right-wing New Hope party leader Gideon Sa’ar, another former associate of Netanyahu, will be the new minister of justice.

Netanyahu, who is facing bribery and fraud charges, had been trying to convince members of the “change bloc” to swing over to support him – rather than the new government – in a bid to prevent the coalition from being sworn in.

Also during Sunday’s Knesset session, Mickey Levy was elected as the speaker of the parliament.

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