December 5, 2022

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Bennett Officially Steps Down as Alternate Prime Minister

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On Sunday, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett officially resigned as alternate prime minister. Last week he had announced that he would step down, as the formation of the new government was imminent.

Resignation

The resignation will go into effect on Tuesday and will put an end to his career in politics that lasted a decade and was capped by a surprise ascension to the role of premier in 2021.

Bennett and Yair Lapid, the outgoing Prime Minister, had signed a power-sharing agreement last year and he had handed the leadership of the country to him this year.

In June, when their coalition collapse and a fresh round of elections was scheduled, Bennett announced that he would be leaving politics.

The resignation announcement had first been made on Thursday, two days after the elections on Tuesday that saw opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu emerge as the winner.

He also wished luck to the new right-wing coalition that is expected to form the next government. He stated that he hoped they would act responsibly and with a broad consensus.

The former premier also praised the work that his own government had done and said that they had come up with policies via agreement and negotiation.

Lapid’s response

Bennett had also met Lapid earlier on Thursday and the two had agreed that they would not take any unnecessary and sensitive political decisions until the new government has been formed.

Lapid responded to Bennett’s announcement by expressing his gratitude for his partner and friend. He said that they had done good things for Israel together and their story was not done as yet.

Bennett’s background

Bennett had first emerged in Israel’s political scene in 2013 when the elections saw 12 seats claimed by his Jewish Home party, making it the fourth-largest faction in the Knesset.

Netanyahu headed the 33rd government in which Bennett had served as the economy minister, while a number of other ministerial portfolios were granted to Jewish Home MKs.

Under Bennett, the party had also joined the next government by Netanyahu and claimed 8 seats in the Knesset.

At that time, Bennett had taken the position of education minister and managed to get running mate Ayelet Shaked the powerful portfolio of justice minister.

In December 2018, the 34th government dissolved, which saw Bennett step away from the Jewish Home party, along with Shaked, because of the tension with the leadership.

He then founded the New Right party, which was short-lived, as it did not cross the electoral threshold in the elections in April 2019.

But, new elections were scheduled in September because a government could not be formed and Bennett stepped back to allow Shaked to lead, who formed the Yamina party.

They won seven seats and Bennett took the position of defense minister in the interim government by Netanyahu.

Bennett did not join when Likud and the Blue and White party formed a government after elections in March 2020.

After the elections in 2021, he got together with Lapid and they formed a coalition government that collapsed this year.

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