10 standout moments from the swearing in of Israel’s new government

Israeli parliament voted to confirm the new government, ousting Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office.
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Show Me the Love

While being heckled by new opposition members of Knesset throughout his speech, Naftali Bennett’s children made heart shapes with their hands to support their father.

“We’ll Be Back”

The longest tenured prime minister in Israeli history, Binyamin Netanyahu, sharply criticized the formation of the new government and listed his various accomplishments throughout his political career. He announced, “we’ll be back.”

Change of Plans

Despite preparing a major speech for the Knesset, new alternative prime minister and foreign minister Yair Lapid threw out his speech and instead condemned the members of knesset from the opposition for heckling Bennett throughout his speech.He said that his elderly mother who came to Jerusalem for the ceremony, “along with every citizen of Israel, is ashamed of you and remembers clearly why it’s time to replace you.”.”

“It’s Time”

In the speech Lapid did not deliver, he [would have] said:

“In a democratic country, governments rise and fall. A generation goes and a generation comes. That is the natural order of things. This is a complicated coalition, maybe the most complicated in the country’s history, but the reason for its creation is actually simple: it is time.”

You can find the full text here.

Multiple Perspectives

One group of Israelis at the Kotel is praying against the new government (left) and the other group is celebrating at Kikar Rabin (right).

“Stop the Madness”

In his speech, Naftali Bennett called on “different leaders, from all parts of the people, to stop, to stop this madness,” referring to countless elections and growing hatred on- and offline.

“Our principle is, we will sit together, and we will forge forward on that which we agree – and there is much we agree on, transport, education and so on, and what separates us we will leave to the side.

To the citizens of Israel I say: this is a sensitive moment of political change. I call on all, to demonstrate maturity and restraint.”

You can find the full text here.

Shehechiyanu

Naftali Bennett opened the government’s first official meeting with the Shehechiyanu, a Hebrew prayer that is traditionally recited upon doing something new/for the first time, further underscoring the history-making status of this coalition.

Prayer from :24-:32

Peaceful Transfer of Power

Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett shake hands, signaling a peaceful transfer of power to the new unity government.

Global Congratulations

Leaders around the world congratulated Israel on their new government:

Joe Biden | United States

“On behalf of the American people, I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet.”

Angela Merkel | Germany

“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further. With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you.” 

Boris Johnson | United Kingdom

“As we emerge from COVID-19, this is an exciting time for the UK and Israel to continue working together to advance peace and prosperity for all.”

Vladamir Putin | Russia

“I expect that your work at the helm of the government will facilitate a further development of constructive bilateral cooperation in all directions to help strengthen peace, security and stability in the Middle East.”

Justin Trudeau | Canada

“Congratulations on the formation of a new Israeli government, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid.Together, let’s explore ways to further strengthen the relationship between Canada and Israel.”

Narendra Modi | India

“Ahead of marking 30 years since the upgrading of diplomatic ties next year, I look forward to meeting you and deepening our countries’ strategic relations.”

Sebastian Kurz | Austria

“I look forward to working with you. Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to stand by Israel‘s side.”

Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan | United Arab Emirates (UAE)

“We look forward to working together to advance regional peace, strengthen tolerance and coexistence, and embark upon a new era of cooperation in technology, trade, and investment.”

What Comes Next

In his speech, Bennett outlined the new government’s priority projects, including:

  • Education: transfer responsibility for infant daycare to the Ministry of Education
  • National Service: lower the draft exemption age from 24 to 21
  • Fewer Ministries: Shut down the Ministry of Digital Affairs, the Ministry for Water, the Ministry for Communal Advancement and the Ministry for Strategic Affairs
  • Employment: Set a national target of increasing high-tech workers to 15% of the workforce by 2026.
  • Reduce Kashrut Monopolies: Open competition in kosher certification, bringing down the cost of food and strengthening the public’s faith in the level of Kashrut.
  • Checks and Balances: Justice Minister-designate Gideon Saar will work to create a balance between the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government.
  • Arab Relations: Led by Mansour Abbas, the government will address the fight against crime and violence, the housing crisis, the gaps in education, infrastructure and regulating Bedouin settlements.
  • Increased Building: The government will remove obstacles and allow for extensive construction throughout the country.
  • Diaspora Relations: Strengthen the bond between the State of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora
  • Iran Deal: “Israel will not allow Iran to be equipped with nuclear weapons. Israel is not party to the agreement, and will maintain full freedom to act.”

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