Today, Sunday, the Knesset announced the end of Benjamin Netanyahu’s era after 12 years as Israeli Prime Minister, to begin a new phase led by Naftali Bennett, head of the hard-line Yamina party, to be the first prime minister in the history of Israel who belongs to the religious right.
The new coalition, which includes parties from the left, the center, the right and the Arab minority united only by the desire to overthrow the 71-year-old Netanyahu, won the confidence of parliament by one vote, with 60 votes to 59.
Bennett has served as prime minister for two years before centrist politician Yair Lapid, 57, a popular former TV presenter, takes office in 2023.
** Here are the most prominent moments in the life of the new Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett:
* Naftali Bennett, leader of the far-right Yamina party, who will be prime minister first, thus becoming the first prime minister of a hard-line religious government in the history of Israel, after he held 5 previous ministerial portfolios, including the Ministry of Defense in 2020.
* He won 7 seats in parliament in the fourth March 23 elections in two years. But a member of Knesset from his party expressed his refusal to cooperate with the anti-Netanyahu camp, according to a report by France 24.
* He is a former soldier in the Special Forces – March 25, 1972 to parents born in the United States, and lives with his wife Galit and 4 children in the city of Ra’anana in central Israel.
* Bennett adopts a hard-line religious rhetoric, leads the Yamina party that supports settlements and Israel’s annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, and calls for a hard-line policy toward Iran.
* He served in the Sayeret Matkal unit like Netanyahu, and entered politics after selling his tech start-up for $145 million in 2005. The following year, he became Netanyahu’s chief of staff, who was then in opposition, according to an earlier report by Al Jazeera Net.
* After leaving Netanyahu’s office, he became – in 2010 – the head of the settlement council in “Judea and Samaria (the biblical name for the occupied West Bank) and Gaza”, which works for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.
* In 2013, he said that Palestinian prisoners should be killed and not released. He also said that the West Bank is not under occupation because “there was no Palestinian state here,” and that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be resolved,” as he is considered one of the most vocal opponents of a state Palestinian.
In addition to holding the defense portfolio, Bennett served as Minister of Economy and Education in the Netanyahu government. In 2018, he renamed the Jewish Home party Yamina (right).