Israel’s new government was sworn in on Sunday, ending Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year hold on power.
In his final speech as Prime Minister before being replaced Netanyahu lashed out at his rivals.
“You call yourself the guardians of democracy, but you are so afraid of democracy that you are ready to pass fascist laws against my candidacy – the language of north Korea and Iran – in order to maintain your regime,” he said.
The man who replaced him is right-wing rival Naftali Bennett. Late Sunday night Bennett won a crucial confidence vote in Israel’s parliament.
The swearing in made it official and Bennett became Israel’s Prime Minister. He promised a different kind of politics – one aimed at unity and agreement – not discord and division.
“Two times in our history, we lost our Jewish home exactly because leaders of the previous generation were not able to sit one with another and compromise. I am proud of the ability to sit together with people with very different views from my own,” he said.
The 49-year-old high-tech millionaire is Israel’s first religious Prime Minister. His rollercoaster political journey has taken him through a series of different political parties on the right.
He now leads the most diverse coalition in Israel’s history, including the first Arab party ever to join a government.
Until the final moment Netanyahu was working to scuttle Bennett’s government and hang onto power.
In language echoing former President Donald Trump, Israel’s longest serving leader accused his rivals of the greatest fraud in the country’s history.
Trump gave Netanyahu major political gifts: Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, normalization agreements with some Arab countries, and more.
But it was never enough to get Netanyahu what he craved – an outright election victory. Netanyahu could not overcome a polarized electorate and the ongoing corruption trial in which he has denied wrongdoing.
He is now leader of the opposition as he watches Naftali Bennett lead the country into a new era of politics.