End of the road for Netanyahu, Longest-Serving Israeli Prime Minister

Netanyahu’s 12-year stretch as prime minister ends after opposition leader Yair Lapid forms a new government without him. After dominating Israeli politics for years, Benjamin Netanyahu has been ousted from power.

A new coalition government led by right-wing nationalist Naftali Bennett has been voted in by a very close majority of 60 to 59. Bennett will remain Israel’s prime minister until September 2023 and he will be succeeded by Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, under a power-sharing deal.

Infographic: The Longest-Serving Israeli Prime Ministers | Statista

Netanyahu was Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, having served five terms in office. His first was from 1996 to 1999 and he then stayed in office continuously from 2009 to 2021, adding up to just over 15 years in total. David Ben-Gurion, the founder and first prime minister of Israel, comes second for a time in office at 13 years and 127 days. Yitzhak Shamir was Israel’s third-longest serving prime minister at 6 years and 242 days.

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After four elections in two years, Bennett’s incoming government breaks a long political deadlock and ushers in the most diverse coalition Israel has ever seen, including the first Arab party to serve in the government. In his speech before the Knesset confidence vote, Bennett celebrated the diversity and warned of polarization within the country.

US President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated Bennett in his first statement about the political situation in Israel, saying he looked forward to working with the new prime minister.
Biden also spoke with Bennett on the phone, according to a readout of the call from the White House. “The leaders agreed that they and their teams would consult closely on all matters related to regional security, including Iran,” the White House said.
“The President also conveyed that his administration intends to work closely with the Israeli government on efforts to advance peace, security, and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians.”

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