Netanyahu ousted following Knesset vote

Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in an interview with Channel 12 broadcast

Naftali Bennett, a multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur who made his political name with hardline religious-nationalist rhetoric, will become Israel's next prime minister if parliament approves a new government on Sunday.

Promising to try to heal a divided nation, Mr Bennett will preside over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences.

If Mr Netanyahu loses the vote and is stripped of high office he could face a leadership challenge within his right-wing Likud party.

With little to no prospect of progress toward resolving the decades-long conflict with Israel, many Palestinians will be unmoved by the change of administration, saying Bennett will likely pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu. "I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations", he posted.

In Tel Aviv's Rabin Square, Mr. Netanyahu's opponents launched into celebrations, waving "Bye bye Bibi" placards.

"When PM Netanyahu speaks about "election fraud" he isn't referring to the vote counting process in Israel in which he has complete confidence".

Two more elections followed, each of which ended inconclusively. The two politicians worked together to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu who served as prime minister for the last 12 years.

Bennett's potential predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, has managed to secure a number of new peace deals with Arab countries over the past year, specifically with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco.

Being ousted from the top job will leave Netanyahu more exposed to his legal woes, because it denies him the chance to push through parliament changes to basic laws that could give him immunity.

He also added that Israel will not allow Iran to be equipped with nuclear weapons: "Israel is not party to the agreement, and will maintain full freedom to act".

The anti-Netanyahu bloc spans the political spectrum, including three right-wing, two centrist and two left-wing parties, along with an Arab Islamic conservative party.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday congratulated Bennett in comments tweeted by her spokeswoman: "Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further".

The improbable alliance emerged two weeks after an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, and following inter-communal violence in Israeli cities with significant Arab-Palestinian populations.

But the ever-combative Netanyahu has tried to peel off defectors that would deprive the nascent coalition of its wafer thin legislative majority.

Netanyahu's bombastic remarks as he saw his grip on power slip drew parallels at home and overseas to former USA president Donald Trump, who described his election loss past year as the result of a rigged vote.

In an interview justifying his decision to join the "change" coalition, despite explicit campaign pledges to not be part of a government headed by or formed with Lapid, Bennett said that the good of the country trumped his word.

He has accused Bennett of "fraud" for siding with rivals, and angry rallies by the premier's Likud party supporters have resulted in security being bolstered for some lawmakers.

Sunday's Knesset approval also came amid heightened tensions with the Palestinians.

It also comes amid right-wing anger over the postponement of a controversial Jewish nationalist march.

The "March of the Flags" is now slated for Tuesday, representing a key early test for the new government.

"Prime Minister Bennett noted his appreciation for the President, and for his support for Israel during the recent operation in Gaza (Guardian of the Walls), and noted that he considers him a great friend of the State of Israel", the statement said. "Its still a colonising and occupying power that we must resist".

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