New Delhi: Yair Lapid, Israel’s opposition leader announced that a deal was made to form a coalition government which would end the 12-year rule of Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest serving Prime Minister.
He’ll be replaced as prime minister by Naftali Bennett, a 49-year-old technology millionaire and former cabinet minister.
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An official statement issued by President Reuven Rivlin’s office said that Lapid informed the President that “he has been able to form a government”.
According to an IANS report, the statement by centrist Lapid and his main partner, nationalist hardliner Naftali Bennett, came about 30 minutes before a Wednesday midnight deadline to put together a new governing coalition following the March 23rd elections.
The proposed new government will be a coalition of eight parties spanning the political spectrum of Israel, including Ra’am, an Islamist party headed by Mansour Abbas, marking the first time for an Arab party to be part of a coalition in Israel.
Who is Natfali Bennett
Natfali Bennett is a 49-year-old multi-millionaire former tech entrepreneur who made a name in politics with right-wing, he lead the Yamina party. A firebrand politician who has his own fair share of controversies. He has called for Israel to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. Bennett is also ultra-liberal on the economy.
Bennett served as Minister of Diaspora Affairs from 2013 to 2019 and as Minister of Defense from 2019 to 2020. According to a Bloomberg report, Bennett served in an elite military commando unit. As a tech entrepreneur, he co-founded payment security company Cyota Inc., which was sold for $145 million to RSA Security LLC. He served as chief of staff for then-opposition leader Netanyahu from 2006 to 2008, after breaking with him, Bennett headed the Jewish settlers’ council.
According to media reports, Bennett agreed to join centrist Yair Lapid in a coalition to remove the prime minister. Lapid has offered to share power, letting Bennett serve the first term rotating as prime minister