Israel’s Netanyahu officially hands over power to Bennett

Jerusalem, Jun 14 (EFE).- Israeli outgoing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday handed over his office to his successor, far-right politician Naftali Bennett, in a meeting that lasted only 25 minutes.

The eight-way coalition government was sworn on Sunday after Israeli lawmakers approved the new coalition government in a narrow 60-59 vote in the 120-seat parliament, putting an end to Netanyahu’s record 12-year run as premier.

The transfer of power in Israel usually happens in a ceremony, an option that rejected by Netanyahu, who now leads the opposition in parliament.

Bennett will hold the prime minister’s position for two years, then leader of centrist Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid, will take over until 2025.

Both leaders are also to split the job of foreign minister.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohamed Shtayyeh celebrated the end of Netanyahu’s tenure; however, he holds out little hope for the new government.

“Netanyahu’s 12 continuous years in power was one of the worst periods in the history of the conflict” with Israel, Shtayyeh said during the weekly cabinet meeting.

“We do not consider the new Israeli government to be any less bad than its predecessors,” he added.

The Islamist Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip has called on Palestinians to hold a “Day of Rage” on Tuesday to protest a controversial flag march in Jerusalem.

Tuesday’s Jerusalem Day parade is set to have a route passing through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

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