Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has vowed to unite the nation frayed by four elections in two years of political stalemate. He said his government “will work for the sake of all the people”, adding that the priorities would be reforms in education, health and cutting red tape. The right-wing nationalist will lead an unprecedented coalition of parties backed by MPs in Sunday’s 60-59 vote. He succeeds Benjamin Netanyahu who was forced out of office after 12 years.

Mr Bennett, leader of Yamina party, will be prime minister until September 2023 as part of a power-sharing deal. He will then hand power over to Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid, for a further two years. Mr Netanyahu – Israel’s longest-serving prime minister – will remain head of the right-wing Likud party and become leader of the opposition.

During Sunday’s debate in the Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem, a defiant Mr Netanyahu promised: “We’ll be back.” After lawmakers voted in the new coalition government, Mr Netanyahu walked over to Mr Bennett and shook his hand.

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