Israel: How Long will Naftali Bennett's Anti-Netanyahu Coalition Government Last?

Right Wing Leader Naftali Bennett was sworn in as Israel's new prime minister, after he managed to put together a coalition of extremely unseemly allies.

The new government won a vote of confidence in Israeli parliament Knesset on Sunday but the victory margin was a razor thin 60-50, a straw in the wind for the extremely tough days ahead for the new leader.

Bennett's Unseemly Rise to Power

Bennett's nationalist Yamina party had won only six seats in the 120-member Parliament, making his ascension to premiership a folklore story of sorts. Under the terms of the coalition deal, he will cede place at the top to centrist leader Yair Lapid in 2023.

During the first term of the coalition government, Lapid will serve as the foreign minister while in the second term, Bennett will work as the interior minister.

Naftali Bennett, Israeli Prime Minister
Naftali Bennett, Israeli Prime Minister Wikimedia Commons

The coalition government led by Bennett, a high-tech millionaire, consists of eight parties. They are Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, Naftali Bennett's Yamina, New Hope, Labor, Meretz, United Arab List, Kahol Lavan and Yisrael Beiteinu.

Challenging Days

Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew and ultra right-winger who was once a loyalist of Benjamin Netanyahu, will find his days in office challenging as his coalition is a mixed bag of parties with conflicting ideologies and agenda.

While his Yamina is an ultra right wing party, the major component in the coalition is Lapid's centrist Yesh Atid party. The coalition also consists of the leftist Labor and Meretz while, an extremely unseemly part is the Islamist party, the United Arab List.

probe into netanyahu
FILE PHOTO - Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a forum hosted by the Center for American Progress in Washington November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

The coalition came to power based on the single point agenda of unseating Netanyahu, who has been in power for a record 12 years.

Netanyahu, on his part, has made it amply cleat that he will stay in politics, fight the government and return as prime minister after the next election.

We Will Come Back, Says Netanyahu

The Israeli strong man, who had the longest reign as prime minister, told his followers that he will take on the role of opposition leader and remain the head of the Likud. He will also remain as the party's candidate for prime minister in the next election.

Israel Knesset building
Israel Knesset building Wikimedia Commons / Beny Shlevich

"If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it," said Netanyahu, 71.

Though Bennett thanked Netanyahu for the 12 years of big achievements, the two will remain political foes in the days to come. Bennett had cone served as Netanyahu's chief of staff and was also his defense minister for a time.

The Likud calls Bennett a traitor for reneging on the poll promise of a coalition with it. After the latest round of elections, Netanyahu had called on Bennett to join him in the government, a request the latter spurned.

'Dangerous Left-wing Government'

Netanyahu decried the 'dangerous Left-wing government' and promised his supporters that he will try to topple it in the coming days.

"I ask you not to lose your spirits. We will come back... " he told his supporters after his Knesset speech giving up the premiership.

"We will continue to work together ... I will lead you in a daily struggle against this dangerous left-wing government to topple it, and with God's help, it will happen much faster than you think," he said, according to the JPost.