Mon, 26 Jul 2021

US President Joe Biden on Sunday congratulated incoming Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett after an alliance of parties ousted Benjamin Netanyahu and formed a new government.

"I congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and all the members of the new Israeli cabinet," Biden said in a statement.

"I look forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations. Israel has no better friend than the United States."

Biden added that he was "fully committed to working with the new Israeli government to advance security, stability, and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and people throughout the broader region."

Bennett responded not long afterwards, saying: "Thank you Mr. President! I look forward to working with you to strengthen the ties between our two nations."

Separately, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin congratulated Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz, who will remain in his post in the new government.

READ | Israel's Netanyahu ousted as 'change' coalition forms new govt

Austin said he "looks forward to continuing the important cooperation and dialogue with Minister Gantz to deepen the US-Israel strategic partnership," adding: "The US commitment to Israel's security remains ironclad."

A right-wing Jewish nationalist and former tech millionaire, Bennett is taking over at the helm of an Israeli government pieced together by an eight-party coalition, united only by their shared disdain for the hawkish right-wing Netanyahu.

In a Knesset speech before the vote, the 49-year-old Bennett promised the new government, a coalition of ideologically divergent parties, "represents all of Israel."

Source: News24

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