June 13, 2021 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) congratulates incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid on successfully forming a new government in Israel.
The “change coalition” emerged in negotiations following the March 23 elections, the fourth ballot in Israel in less than two years. Today’s Knesset vote approving the coalition formally ends the premiership of Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in office for 15 years,12 consecutively, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history.
“The new Israeli government reflects the country’s diversity and is determined to pursue peace, security, and prosperity,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “AJC looks forward to working with the new coalition, as we have consistently done with every Israeli government since 1948, and we wish the leadership every success.”
Israel’s 36th government is composed of eight parties from across Israel’s political spectrum, including, for the first time ever, an Israeli Arab party. Yamina party chief Naftali Bennett, who addressed the AJC Global Forum in 2018, will first serve as prime minister, and Yesh Atid party chief Yair Lapid, who addressed the AJC Global Forum in 2015, will succeed him in 2023.
President Rivlin had tasked Lapid with forming the coalition after Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, was unable to assemble the required 61 MKs in support of a coalition.
Harris, who, most recently, met with Netanyahu in the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem last month, praised the premier’s legacy.
“The prime minister of Israel is unquestionably among the most challenging leadership positions in the world,” said Harris. “Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated impressive leadership on many issues, including expanding Israel’s diplomatic ties with nations around the world, extending peace with four Arab countries, maintaining Israel’s security in a volatile region, promoting exceptional achievements in innovation, spearheading the widely-admired handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explaining eloquently Israel’s unique challenges on the global stage. Moreover, his door was always open to AJC, including our young lay and staff leaders, Project Interchange visitors, and Global Forum invitations.”
"We will gladly work with the new government, where appropriate, to help build on these remarkable achievements, as well as to strengthen the essential ties that bind the Jewish state and Jews around the world,” Harris added.
AJC, the leading global Jewish advocacy organization, opened an office in Jerusalem 60 years ago. Today, it is directed by Avital Leibovich.
Benjamin Netanyahu Addresses 2018 AJC Global Forum in Jerusalem, Israel.
Yair Lapid Addresses 2015 AJC Global Forum in Washington, DC.
Naftali Bennett Addresses AJC 2018 Global Forum in Jerusalem, Israel.