Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year rule came to an end on Sunday, June 13 as Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel's new Prime Minister. Netanyahu was the longest-serving Israeli prime minister.
The country's Parliament, Knesset, approved a new coalition government led by Bennet, reported Al Jazeera. The parliament backed the eight-party coalition government by a razor-thin margin of 60 votes to 59. Under an agreement, Bennett will serve as prime minister till 2023. The centrist leader Yair Lapid will succeed him after that.
Naftali Bennett- Politician, Millionaire, Leader
Bennet is the leader of the Yamina party. In the last general election, his party was able to win only a few seats. The 49-year-old was Netanyahu's chief of staff from 2006 to 2008. They had a falling out after that. He is a religious Jew and a self-made tech billionaire. The son of American-born parents, the 49-year-old leader has often been labelled as ultra-nationalist. He tried out for the army's most prestigious commando unit, Sayeret Matkal. He made it past the gruelling trials and served in the elite force and then in the Maglan reconnaissance unit. He left full-time military service after six years, in 1996.
Bennett is a supporter of the settlement movement (he supports annexing 60 per cent of the West Bank. In the early 2000s, he moved to New York with his wife and gradually made a fortune selling his software firm to a US-based company for $145 million.
The couple then moved back to Israel, where Bennet launched his political career in 2006, serving as chief of staff for Netanyahu, who was then leader of the opposition. A self-made multimillionaire by 33, Bennett's pivot toward politics came in the wake of the 2006 Lebanon War. He is strongly opposed to Palestinian independence.
Bennet will be Israel's first prime minister who regularly wears a kippa, the skullcap worn by observant Jews.