Israeli people can now take a breather after the Netanyahu 12 year ruling clutch has been taken off their windpipe. Every unseating of a ‘power grabber’ calls for a joyous mood in the nation, and this was the setting on 13 June 2021 when Netanyahu was transformed into the ‘former’ Israel Prime Minister.
Benjamin Netanyahu, a 71-year-old politician, had been in power for a clean 12 years’ slate. During his reign, he had managed to deactivate his opponents through coalition and friendship agreements with influential leaders and organizations. However, his intensified rule was felt hard to the extent of motivating, inspiring, and forcing opposition leaders to abandon their distinctive dreams and form a coalition to topple his government. This kind of ‘power’ where you see the whole teaming up against a single individual is rare, and it had to take eight major political parties to form a united front against Netanyahu.
Building up to this ‘glorious’ event, eight opposition parties had formed a coalition to bring a new government to Israel. The ballot had failed the Israeli citizens four times in the last two years, so the oppositions had to come up with a new ‘legal’ way to have a taste of the throne. It was most likely that the country would go to the ballots for the fifth time, and the former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not even willing to relinquish power. He was enjoying the failure to instill a new government after holding four elections, so he was comfortable to have the fifth election.
Engineered by Yamina’s leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid’s leader Yair Lapid, the coalition of the opposition parties was a success, and they laid down their main objective, which was to remove Netanyahu from the throne. Netanyahu, nicknamed the Bibi by his faithful fans, tried to stamp out this political plot at the root level. He called it the biggest’ fraud’ in political history and regarded it as dangerous for the nation. According to Bibi, the coalition was a fraud because it had no basis since different political parties had no universal underlying principles. Also, it was a teaming up of leftists and right-wingers who initially had no common interest; hence a cat and mouse cannot play for one team. Netanyahu was blamed for many corrupt activities, and he denied all those allegations throughout his rule. Although he gave his best to undermine and tarnish the coalition, his efforts were rewarded with huge disappointment as the opposition managed to co-exist in their plans to unseat him. They even came up with a ruling plan which allowed Naftali Bennett to become Prime Minister for the first two years, and then Yair Lapid will take over. A lot of politicians were not confident about the plans of the coalition and even doubted if they were going to co-exist until the voting day because of their differences.
The eight parties’ alliance relied on having majority seats and was confident of winning the elections. The total number of seats among these parties were a lot, and the composition was as follows: Yesh Atid – 17 seats, Meretz – 6 seats, White – 8 seats, Yamina – 6 seats, United Arab List – 14 seats, Yisrael Beiteinu – 7 seats, New Hope – 6 seats [Source]. Given this bulk magnitude, the Netanyahu’ opposers’ had strike political gold in Israel.
The win for Bennett and his allies on Sunday seemed like an obvious case given his majority seats which translated to votes, but it did not happen in a ‘landslide’ victory manner. The Knesset, a popular term for the Israel parliamentary setting, sat on Sunday to decide whether the Bibi reign will continue ruling or the oppositions will take over. Netanyahu lost the elections and became the former Prime Minister, while Bennet took the reins on that same day after being sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Israel. Upon hearing this news, masses of people waiting outside the chambers and others watching live on various online platforms rejoiced loudly. Numerous videos posted online show masses of people rejoicing in the streets after the voting had ended and a new government took over.
A closer analysis of the votes shows that although Bibi was defeated, the new leaders cannot be undermined. He only lost by a single vote as it was recorded 60 – 59 seats in favor of the oppositions’ coalition, which means that the election could have gone either way, and it has been reported that there was a voter abstention [Source]. For the first time in a long period, Netanyahu was seen sliding over to the opposite side of the Knesset gathering, which triggered a joyous mood among the politicians.
In his ‘farewell’ speech, the former Prime Minister Netanyahu still argued that the opposition coalition was a fraud. He vowed to join the fight against this ‘illegal’ political move by Bennet and his peers. His last words were an assurance to the people that he will be back. Various chants were thrown at Bennett, who was labeled a traitor since he joined the leftists leaving the right-wingers. In his defense, together with Lapid, he argued that Israel had been filled with a lot of political divisions, so it was high time they all unite for a common goal that was necessary for the nation’s good.
As the new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennet, aged 49 and a hi-tech millionaire, pledged to focus on improving the domestic reforms in education, health, growing businesses, and lowering house rents. He also noted that his government would continue to have good relations with the United States of America and work with both the Democrats and the Republicans. Another major issue in his address was that Israel would not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons because that endangers human life [Source]. US president Joe Biden has acknowledged this new government and promised that he would work with Israel.
The proposed agreement is that Lapid, a former famous TV presenter, will take over from Bennet around 2023. However, politicians still maintain the view this coalition is fragile, and for it to work, there is a need for hardened unity.