By Bhavya Surapaneni
Castle Pines, Colorado
On June 13, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted by a parliamentary vote to form a new government. Weeks ago, opposition parties outlined a plan to replace Netanyahu with a coalition government, and the parliamentary vote marked the success of this plan. The new government will initially be headed for a two-year period by Israel’s former defense minister, Naftali Bennett, and after by Yair Lapid, according to The Washington Post.
Netanyahu has held office for twelve consecutive years through four elections. His time as prime minister was marked by various controversies, the most recent being his trial on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud, according to CBC. Many believe this trial resulted in opposition lawmakers uniting against Netanyahu.
The buildup to the opposition also consisted of a stalemate in Israeli politics. Reuters reported that On March 23, Israel held its fourth parliamentary election in two years, and it resulted in no majority for any party, similar to all previous elections in the two-year period. On April 6, Israeli President Reuben Rivlin gave Netanyahu an ultimatum, giving him 28 days to form a new government. Rivlin’s attempt failed, so he turned to Lapid, a centrist politician and member of the centrist party Yesh Atid. Lapid attempted to erect an unexpected coalition, composed of right-wing, center and left-wing politicians; however, when violence erupted in the Gaza strip between Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, and Israel on May 10, Lapid’s coalition attempt broke down.
When a ceasefire was declared on May 21, work to form the coalition began again, this time with both Lapid and Bennett involved. According to CNN, with tensions escalating between Hamas and Israel, a new government was needed as soon as possible to minimize damage. Though Lapid’s party is centrist and Bennett’s party, Yamina, is right-wing, the two leaders were able to unite against their common rival: Netanyahu.
Shortly before Lapid’s deadline on June 2, the parties involved in the coalition came to an agreement. According to The Washington Post, the agreement outlined that Bennett would assume the role of prime minister for two years, and Lapid would serve as prime minister for a two-year term after Bennett.
After the proposition, the parliamentary vote was postponed for a period of time, potentially because Netanyahu’s party hoped to exploit weaknesses in the coalition in the time they had, according to The Washington Post; however, their attempts were fruitless. Roughly eleven days after the coalition government was proposed, parliament convened to make the decision, voting 60-59 in favor of ousting Netanyahu.
Bennett was sworn in immediately after the majority vote, instituting the coalition as the government of the state of Israel. United States President Joe Biden extended his congratulations to Bennett and Lapid, saying that he hoped to “deepen cooperation between the United States and Israel,” according to New York Post.
The ousting of Netanyahu and implementation of a new government marks a major turning point in Israeli politics and for the people of Israel, and many expect the effects of the change to echo across the world.