BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS THE ASSOCIATED PRESSJUNE 14, 2021 03:19 PM
The latest on Israel’s incoming government (all times local):
JERUSALEM — Naftali Bennett, Israel’s first Orthodox Jewish prime minister, has opened the first meeting of his government with a traditional blessing for new beginnings, saying that now’s the time to get to work
Bennett addressed the newly sworn in Cabinet Sunday night, saying the country is “at the outset of new days.”
“Citizens of Israel are all looking to us now, and the burden of proof is upon us,” he said. “We must all, for this amazing process to succeed, we must all know to maintain restraint on ideological matters.”
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Alternate prime minister Yair Lapid, who will serve as foreign minister for the first two years of the government’s term, said in brief remarks that “friendship and trust” built their government, and that’s what will keep it going.
JERUSALEM — Palestinian Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s office has little to say about Israel’s new government headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, calling it an “internal Israeli affair.”
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeneh said Sunday that the Palestinian position remains “adherence to international legitimacy and the two-state solution by establishing an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
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The new Israeli government includes a wide spectrum of parties ranging from hard-line nationalists to more dovish supporters of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Members of the new government have said they will avoid dealing with the divisive issue for the time being.
JERUSALEM — U.S. President Joe Biden has congratulated Israel’s incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, saying he looks forward to working “to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship” between the two nations. In a statement released by the White House, Biden said that “Israel has no better friend than the United States,” and that “the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel’s security.”
JERUSALEM — Israel’s parliament has appointed a new speaker, taking a key step toward approving a new coalition government that would end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 12-year rule.
With 67 votes in the 120-member chamber, parliament named Mickey Levy of the centrist Yesh Atid party its new speaker. He is to succeed the current speaker, Yariv Levin, of Netanyahu’s Likud party.
The move set the stage for a confidence vote to approve a new coalition government later Sunday.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Gaza’s Hamas rulers say they will confront the new Israeli government that is expected to take office.
Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for the Islamic militant group, said Sunday any Israeli government is “a settler occupier entity that must be resisted by all forms of resistance, foremost of which is the armed resistance.”
Hamas and Israel fought an 11-day war last month. The bitter enemies have fought a total of four wars since Hamas, which seeks Israel’s destruction, seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the rival Palestinian Authority.
Despite their enmity, the sides have been conducting indirect talks aimed at shoring up a cease-fire. Barhoum said “the behavior of this government on the ground will determine the way and nature of dealing with it on the ground.”