Israel to swear in government, ending Netanyahu's long rule

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They finally succeeded after the fourth election, in March 2021, when party leaders from across the political spectrum put aside their differences and agreed to form a unity government.

The alliance, which includes three right-wing, two centrist and two left-wing parties, along with an Arab Islamic conservative party, was cobbled together by centrist politician Yair Lapid.

The schism was evident at a raucous session of the legislature ahead of the vote. He will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, a former TV host, takes over.

The upcoming crunch vote will either end Netanyahu's record time in office or, in case of a last-minute upset, return Israel to a stalemate likely to trigger a fifth general election since 2019.

After its ratification, the new cabinet will be sworn in.

Netanyahu claimed that the Biden administration had asked him to keep their disagreements on Iran private, but that he refused to do so, valuing his hard line on Iran over smooth relations with the U.S. Biden predecessor Donald Trump left the deal, but Biden wants to return to it.

"Israel will not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons".

"Thank you Netanyahu for a long service with many achievements for the State of Israel, for strengthening Israel's diplomatic status and security", Bennett said in Hebrew before the Knesset on Sunday, according to the Post's Lahav Harkov.

"The government will make an effort to deepen and enhance our relations with both parties - bipartisan", Bennett said.

He argues that a government including Lapid and left-wing partners would cower before global pressure to revive the Iran deal, which Netanyahu characterizes as a path for the Islamic Republic to threaten Israel with nuclear weapons.

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On the global stage, with his polished English and booming baritone voice, the telegenic Netanyahu has become the face of Israel. The son of American-born parents who speaks ideal English, he is ultra-liberal on the economy and takes a hard line against Israel's arch-foe, Iran.

For the first time in more than a decade, Israel has welcomed a new prime minister.

The 71-year-old is loved by his hard-core supporters and loathed by critics.

Though he remains by far the most influential and popular figure in Likud, he is also standing trial on corruption and fraud charges which have severely damaged his public image.

His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu's divisive rhetoric, underhand political tactics and subjection of state interests to his own political survival.

However, his office said he will also express staunch opposition to an American return to the 2015 nuclear deal limiting Iran's nuclear program, maintaining Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hawkish stance toward Tehran, though parties that have spoken about keeping disagreements with the U.S. behind closed doors will represent an overwhelming majority at the cabinet table.

They drew some cheers and applause during the session amid non-stop heckling from their opponents.

Their cabinet faces huge foreign, security and financial challenges: Iran, a fragile ceasefire with Palestinian militants in Gaza, a war crimes probe by the International Criminal Court, and economic recovery following the pandemic.

Bennett listed as priorities reforms in education, health, cutting red tape to grow businesses and lower housing costs.

That day all coalition agreements had been signed and submitted to the Knesset secretariat, Yamina announced, a moment Bennett said brought "to an end two and a half years of political crisis".

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