Naftali Bennett is Israel’s new Prime Minister. He defeated 71 year old Benjamin Netanyahu in a Parliamentary vote at the Israeli Knesset 60-59 on Sunday, with one minister abstaining. Naftali had previously been an aide to Netanyahu but turned political rival.
Netanyahu faces corruption charges including fraud, bribery and conflict of interest — allegations Netanyahu denies. His prosecution process is already underway. According to Wikipedia, Benjamin Netanyahu is no stranger to corruption allegations. During the fourth and fifth tenure as Prime Minister Netanyahu was investigated by Israeli police and faced several corruption scandals allegedly involving his close political allies. The police recommended indictments against Netanyahu. Netanyahu was officially indicted for breach of trust, accepting bribes, and fraud in November 2019. This required him to relinquish his ministry portfolios other than prime minister. Netanyahu’s trial in the Jerusalem District Court began on 24 May 2020. Witness testimony began on 5 April 2021.
Benjamin Netanyahu had been Israel’s Prime Minister for 12 years and was hoping to cliche another 4 year term. He is Israel’s lolngest serving Prime Minister who was first elected in the late 90s and then later elected in 2009. In the12 years of his governance he facilitated the proliferation of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, frustrated Palestinian aspirations for statehood and aligned Israel with right-wing leaders internationally. But there has been growing opposition by his political rivals.
After the voting was done and results announced the former Prime Minister Netanyahu congratulated newly elected Prime Minister following which Netanyahu proceeded to encourage his supporters to be steadfast and unwavering on twitter.
“I ask you: do not let your spirit fall,” he said. “We’ll be back – and faster than you think.”
Netanyahu is seen amongst loyalists as a strong defender of Israel’s sovereignty who has improved Israel’s economic success and oversaw an effective battle against the coronavirus.
The United States felicitated with Naftali Bennet and Israel on a successful election stressing that Israel has no greater partner than the US.
In his press statement President Joe Biden congratulated Bennett and the new Israeli government starting that “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,”.
The new Israeli Prime Minister responded via Twitter saying “I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations,”.
Isaac Herzog is also Israels newly elected President, following in his late father’s footsteps. He is the first son of the first elected President of Israel. Though the presidential role is only ceremonial and formal in nature. He is still the head of state, however, the prime minister is the head of the executive branch.