The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Israel takes a breath

A nearly-comical coalition of political parties in Israel successfully achieved the only thing they agreed on by removing Benjamin Netanyahu from power yesterday:

The long and divisive reign of Benjamin Netanyahu, the dominant Israeli politician of the past generation, officially ended on Sunday night, at least for the time being, as the country’s Parliament gave its vote of confidence to a precarious coalition government stitched together by widely disparate anti-Netanyahu forces.

Naftali Bennett, a 49-year-old former aide to Mr. Netanyahu who opposes a Palestinian state and is considered to the right of his old ally, replaced him as prime minister after winning by just a single vote. Yair Lapid, a centrist leader and the new foreign minister, is set to take Mr. Bennett’s place after two years, if their government can hold together that long.

They lead a fragile eight-party alliance ranging from far left to hard right, from secular to religious, that few expect to last a full term and many consider both the embodiment of the rich diversity of Israeli society but also the epitome of its political disarray.

Mr. Netanyahu’s departure was a watershed moment for politics in Israel. He had been in power for so long that he was the only prime minister that many young adults could remember. For many, he had grown synonymous not only with the Israeli state, but also with the concept of Israeli security — and an Israel without him seemed almost inconceivable to some.

Of course, he could return pretty soon if the government collapses. Given the past few years of Israeli history, that seems more likely than not. On the other hand, Netanyahu can't govern from jail...

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