Jerusalem – A motley alliance of Israeli parties on Sunday ended Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12 straight years as prime minister, as parliament voted in a new government led by his former ally, right-wing Jewish nationalist Naftali Bennett.
In a seismic shift in the country’s turbulent politics, Bennett, a tech millionaire and former special forces commander, was sworn in at the helm of an ideologically divided eight-party bloc united only by disdain for the country’s longest-serving prime minister.
Netanyahu, 71, in typically combative style, vowed shortly before his defeat that “if it’s our destiny to be in the opposition, we’ll do so with our heads high until we take down this bad government and return to lead the country our way.”
Beloved as “King Bibi” and “Mr. Security” by his right-wing supporters and condemned as the “crime minister” by his critics, Netanyahu has long been the dominant figure in Israeli politics.