On 13 June 2021, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 12-year reign as leader of Israel finally came to an end, ushering in a new coalition in which the predominant parties found very little in common, other than their desire to get Netanyahu out of office. The New York Times writes that the new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, leads “an eight-party alliance ranging from left to right, from secular to religious,” and these parties’ political ideologies have very little in common at all. Al Jazeera reports that Bennett leads the ultranationalist right-wing Yamina party and adheres to Orthodox Judaism.
Netanyahu proved to be strongly against this new government, aggressively outlining his future in politics by stating “I will lead you in a daily battle against this bad and dangerous left-wing government, and bring it down. And with the help of God, this will happen faster than you think.” The new coalition is taking a different approach, trying to appeal to the international community and rekindle relations with American Democrats. The new Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid, said “the outgoing government took a terrible gamble, reckless and dangerous, to focus exclusively on the Republican Party and abandon Israel’s bipartisan standing… We find ourselves with a Democratic White House, Senate and House, and they are angry. We need to change the way we work with them.”
The new coalition in Israel provides a much-needed step forward from the stagnant and polarizing government of Netanyahu. However, this new coalition is extremely fragile as the different parties that came together to create it have extremely different political motives and beliefs. To combat this, Prime Minister Bennett said “Nobody will have to give up their ideology, but all will have to postpone the realization of some of their dreams… We’ll focus on what can be achieved, rather than arguing about what cannot.” According to Reuters, Bennett was previously Netanyahu’s Chief of Staff, and their right-wing political ideologies are more closely aligned than with the allies in Bennett’s new coalition. However, this vote to oust Netanyahu could prove to be a new era for Israel, allowing for larger social change and conversations about important human rights issues, such as the situation in Palestine. By empowering politicians of different ideological backgrounds, change within the country feels imminent.
Netanyahu was Israel’s longest-serving leader. He served five terms as Israel’s Prime Minister. He first served from 1996 to 1999 and was then re-elected in 2009, where he remained in office until his recent ousting in 2021. In the past years, Netanyahu has received a lot of international attention for his close relationship with President Trump. However, beyond his international political relationships, the BBC reports that “His final years though were dogged by his criminal trial for alleged corruption, which fuelled criticism of his determination to stay on power, and street protests calling for him to go.” In 2019, Israel held an election but failed to gather enough support to form a new coalition. Since then, there have been two additional elections that have returned inconclusive results. Because of these failed elections, the length of Netanyahu’s term, and his unwillingness to let go of power, the formation of this new coalition has proven to be monumental for Israel’s government.
As members of the new coalition take their places within the government, it will be important to see if its strength can last. As the formation was created to end Netanyahu’s reign, the lack of a cohesive political ideology could create issues within the coalition. Yair Lapid, a centrist leader of Israel, is intended to take over as Prime Minister in 2023, sending a very different message from in the past, as Netanyahu continuously stayed in power. Until 2023, it is up in the air how well this new coalition will operate or even if it will still be intact for this transition of power to materialize.