Knesset approves new coalition, ending Netanyahu’s long rule

U.S. & World

FILE – In this Feb. 16, 2020, file, photo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting, in Jerusalem. Several thousand Israelis have demonstrated Saturday, April 25, 2020 against a unity government deal reached last week that leaves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in power as he prepares to go on trial for corruption charges. The protesters say the unity government agreement “crushes democracy” and is meant to rescue Netanyahu from his legal troubles. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP, File)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s parliament has narrowly voted in favor of a new coalition government, ending Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic 12-year rule.

Naftali Bennett, a former ally of Netanyahu turned bitter rival, becomes prime minister, presiding over a diverse and fragile coalition comprised of eight parties with deep ideological differences. Netanyahu remains head of the Likud party and will hold the post of opposition leader.

Netanyahu sat silently during the vote. After it was approved, he stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking Bennett’s hand. A dejected Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then sat down in the opposition leader’s chair.

Sunday’s vote, passed by a 60-59 margin, ended a two-year cycle of political paralysis in which the country held four elections.

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