Who’s who in Israel’s new government
June 14, 2021 - Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, has approved its new government in a razor-thin 60-59 vote, unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 straight years in power.
Israel’s new government held a celebratory first cabinet meeting on Sunday night (June 13) following the ousting of Netanyahu as prime minister in a historic Knesset vote.
Religious Jewish nationalist Naftali Bennett, 49, a former Netanyahu ally who opposes Palestinian statehood and the Iran nuclear deal, will serve as prime minister until August 2023. Centrist Yair Lapid will then lead the country through November 2025.
Emphasizing the broader views within the new coalition, Bennett urged his ministers to show “restraint” over the many ideological differences between different parties.
After four elections in two years, the new coalition plans to focus on issues with broad common ground. It’s set a target to approve a national budget -- last done in 2018 -- within 145 days, focusing on reducing inequality, boosting employment in the nation’s tech sector, and cutting high crime levels in Arab areas.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz will serve as defence minister, and Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman becomes finance minister. New Hope leader Gideon Saar is appointed Minister of Justice, while Labour’s Merav Michaeli receives the transport portfolio, and Meritz leader Nitzen Horowitz is appointed Minister of Health.
Mansour Abbas’s small United Arab List will be the first party in an Israeli government from Israel’s 21 per cent Arab minority -- Palestinian by culture and heritage, but Israeli by citizenship.