Israel’s parliament has voted to end Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year tenure as prime minister, approving in his stead an administration that has pledged to heal a nation bitterly divided over the departure of its longest-serving leader.
A new cabinet will be sworn in following a Knesset vote that saw 60 votes in favour and 59 votes against a new government, which will be formed by centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid and ultra-nationalist Naftali Bennett.
Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years before Lapid takes over.
They will head a government of parties from across the political spectrum, including for the first time one that represents the 21-per cent minority comprising Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Netanyahu, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, failed to form a government after Israel’s March 23 election, its fourth in two years.
The 71-year-old is loved by his hard-core supporters and loathed by critics. His ongoing corruption trial, on charges he denies, has only deepened the chasm.
His opponents have long reviled what they see as Netanyahu’s divisive rhetoric, underhanded political tactics and subjection of state interests to his political survival.