Modi, Biden Congratulate Naftali Bennett on Becoming Israel’s PM

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Israeli politician Naftali Bennett ousted the long-running Benjamin Netanyahu to become Israel's Prime Minister on Sunday, 13 June.

Netanyahu's extreme right-wing supporters shouted slurs at Bennett as the Parliament announced the former's close victory by a 60-59 majority, as per a Reuters report.

Bennett, 49, has previously served as the Defense Minister of Israel.

Netanyahu, who had been the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister with a tenure of 12 years, will now head the Opposition. The former Prime Minister, 71, promised that he would soon return to his seat.

The right-wing leader will lead a newly-instituted eight-party coalition to form the government, along with centrist Yair Lapid. The two will take turns as the Prime Minister, with Bennett taking the first period of two years, and Lapid succeeding him in 2023.

Also Read: ‘Greatest Election Fraud’: Israel PM Netanyahu on New Coalition

It is the first time in Israel's political history that a party that represents the Arab minority will also be a part of the government. The coalition, consisting of left-wing, right-wing, centrist and Arab parties, is expected to have differences due to their divergent interests.

Palestinians expressed indifference at the change in political leadership, forecasting that Bennett would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.

The new government is likely to focus its attention on domestic reforms and will avoid fiddling with international policies.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 6 June had said that the newly-formed eight-party coalition that is expected to defeat him is the result of "the greatest election fraud" in the history of democracy.

Netanyahu's accusation stems from Bennett's reneging on his earlier made vow that the the former would not partner with Arab, left-wing or centrist parties.

Also Read: New Israel Govt Brings Palestinians No Hope: New Approach Needed?

World Leaders Congratulate PM Naftali

US President Joe Biden congratulated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and said in a statement, “I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.”

The statement added, “Israel has no better friend than the United States. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security. My administration is fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also congratulated Naftali Bennett on forming a new government.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated the new PM and said in a tweet, “As we celebrate 30 years of the upgradation of diplomatic relations next year, I look forward to meeting you and deepening the strategic partnership between our two countries.”

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Modi also conveyed his gratitude to former PM Natenyahu in another tweet and said, “I convey my profound gratitude for your leadership and personal attention to India-Israel strategic partnership.”

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also released a statement congratulating PM Naftali.

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(With inputs from Reuters)

Also Read: As Israel Enters New Chapter of Politics, Here’s What to Expect

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