Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power was set to end on Sunday when parliament votes on a new government, ushering in an administration that has pledged to heal a nation bitterly divided over the departure of the country’s longest serving leader.
Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after Israel’s March 23 election, its fourth in two years. The new cabinet, which will be sworn in after a Knesset confidence vote it is expected to win, was cobbled together by the centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett.
Bennett, a hawkish hi-tech millionaire, will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, a former popular TV host, takes over. They will head a government that comprises parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time one that represents the 21% Arab minority. They plan largely to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button international issues such as policy toward the Palestinians while they focus on domestic reforms.
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.