Parliament to vote on new Israeli government on Sunday

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacts during the weekly cabinet meeting, at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP)

Israel’s legislature will vote on Sunday on approving a new government, the speaker of parliament said on Tuesday, a move that will unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s longest-serving leader.

If the coalition of right-wing, left-wing, centrist and Arab parties wins the vote of confidence, it will be sworn in on the same day, marking the end of Netanyahu’s 12-year run as prime minister and his replacement by nationalist Naftali Bennett.

Last Wednesday, centrist Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid announced that he and Bennett, a former defence minister who heads the far-right Yamina party, had formed a broad governing alliance following an inconclusive March 23 election, Israel’s fourth in two years.

Under their deal, Bennett will serve first as prime minister, followed by Lapid.

Bennett had urged Parliamentary Speaker Yariv Levin, a Netanyahu loyalist, to hold the Knesset vote this Wednesday, and called on the prime minister to “let go” and desist from any efforts to persuade members of the new coalition to defect and scupper its inauguration.

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