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Breaking: Bennett emerges new Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu out

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Benjamin Netanyahu has lost his 12-year hold on power in Israel after its parliament voted in a new coalition government.

Right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett has been sworn in as prime minister, leading a “government of change”.

He will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties which was approved with a razor-thin majority of 60-59.

Mr Bennett will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal.

He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, for a further two years.

Mr Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving leader who has dominated its political landscape for years – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.

During the debate in the Knesset (parliament), a defiant Mr Netanyahu promised: “We’ll be back.”

After the vote, Mr Netanyahu walked over to Mr Bennett and shook his hand.

However, representatives of the Palestinians have reacted dismissively to Israel’s new government.

“This is an internal Israeli affair. Our position has always been clear, what we want is a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital,” a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.

“It is an occupation and a colonial entity, which we should resist by force to get our rights back,” said a spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

US President Joe Biden has already sent his congratulations to Mr Bennett, saying he looks forward to working with him.

Why has this happened?

Mr Netanyahu served five terms, first from 1996 to 1999, then continuously from 2009 to 2021.

He called an election in April 2019 but failed to win enough support to form a new coalition government. Two more inconclusive elections followed.

After the third, he formed a government of national unity with then-opposition leader Benny Gantz, but the deal collapsed and Israel went back to the polls in March.

Likud emerged as the largest party, but after Mr Netanyahu was again unable to form a government, the task passed to Mr Lapid, whose party came second.


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