Israeli Parliament Ousts Netanyahu, Approves New Government

Israel’s parliament approved a new government Sunday, ending the 12-year reign of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the longest serving leader in the country’s history. 

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, approved the new government by just one vote – 60 to 59 – with one abstention, the New York Times reports. 

Naftali Bennett was sworn in as the new leader. In a speech before the vote, Bennett warned of polarization within the country. 

“Twice in history, we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation were not able to sit with one and another and compromise. Each was right, yet with all their being right, they burnt the house down on top of us,” Bennett said. “I am proud of the ability to sit together with people with very different views from my own.”

Yair Lapid, a centrist leader, is set to take Bennett’s place after two years, if the new government can hold together that long. They lead an eight-party alliance ranging from left to right, from secular to religious, that agrees on little but the desire to get rid of Netanyahu. 

“We stopped the train before the abyss,” Bennett said. “The time has come for different leaders, from all parts of the people, to stop, to stop this madness.” 

The new coalition proposes to set aside some of the toughest issues and focus on rebuilding the economy, hoping to move away from social policies that favored the Orthodox minority.