Benjamin Netanyahu out, Naftali Bennett to become Israeli prime minister


June 11 (UPI) — Yamina Party leader Naftali Bennett will take over as Israeli prime minister Sunday in the first substantial leadership change in the past two decades.

Agreements were signed Friday with eight parties to form a new coalition government that will oust Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving prime minister.


Netanyahu was unsuccessful in his attempts over more than two years to form a ruling coalition. He has held the prime minister post since 2009 and served an earlier stint between 1996 and 1999. He will relinquish the role amid corruption inquiries.

Under a coalition plan announced last week, Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years and then will be succeeded by Yesh Atid Party leader Yair Lapid in 2023.

“The Israeli public deserves a functioning and responsible government which places the good of the country at the top of its agenda. That’s what this unity government has been formed to do. All the partners in this government are committed, first and foremost, to the people of Israel,” Lapid said.

Unlikely coalition members including the United Arab List — the only Arab party to take part in national politics since 1974 — came together to oust Netanyahu.

The coalition will work to strengthen the nation’s healthcare sector, supporting religious structures and fighting crime in the Arab sector.

Netanyahu has been connected to many scandals over his tenure and earlier this year underwent a corruption inquiry over accusations he purchased favorable media coverage of his administration.

Hamas militants parade through Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip during an anti-Israel rally on May 28. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo