Netanyahu would leave office after more than 12 straight years in power and a total of 15 years as prime minister, which made him one of the longest currently serving democratic leaders in the world.
Sources close to Netanyahu said his departure from the Prime Minister’s Office and then the official residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour and Smolenskin streets would be coordinated soon after.
Bennett, leader of the Yamina party, leads a coalition alongside the Yesh Atid party’s Yair Lapid. As part of the arrangement, the two men would split the term as prime minister, with Lapid expected to take over in two years time, the Jerusalem Post reports.
Lapid will serve as foreign minister in the new cabinet, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz as defense minister, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman as finance minister, New Hope chairman Gideon Sa’ar as justice minister, Labor head Merav Michaeli as transportation minister and the health minister will be Meretz chairman Nitzan Horowitz,
"Thank you Netanyahu for a long service with many achievements for the State of Israel, for strengthening Israel's diplomatic status and security," Bennett said in Hebrew, speaking before the Knesset on Sunday, according to the Post’s Lahav Harkov.
Bennett’s address was regularly interrupted by shouting from Netanyahu’s supporters, while the outgoing prime minister sat silently in the audience.
Netanyahu, of the Likud party, will lead the opposition within the Knesset. He is currently wrapped up in a corruption trial of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. He followed Bennett's address with a speech of his own, in which he touted major developments during his administration. While he was in office, the U.S. moved their embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel's capital. Netanyahu also reached peace agreements with several Arab nations.
"We'll be back," Netanyahu declared.
The change in Israeli leadership does not appear to signal a change in the country’s position on international affairs. Bennett thanked President Biden for his support during Israel's recent clash with Hamas in Gaza, and announced his government plans to develop relationships with members of both major American parties.
At the same time, Bennett echoed the outgoing prime minister’s opposition to restoring the international nuclear deal with Iran. He insisted that a return to the deal would be a mistake and that Israel will not let Iran obtain nuclear weapons.
Bennett and Lapid were able to garner enough support to form their government following a deal Lapid made with the Arab party Ra’am, the Post reported.
The new government is expected to hold its first official meeting later Sunday.