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Budget approval marks great achievement for Israeli leadership

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid succeeded in approving the state budget and must now turn to a series of other challenges inside Israel and abroad.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks to reporters following a session at the Knesset, Jerusalem, Nov. 4, 2021.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his multiparty coalition have overcome the most significant obstacle to their political survival with this week’s 48-hour Knesset voting marathon approving the state’s 2021-22 budget. Bennett can chalk up a major victory, but the real winner is his Alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Passage of the budget despite the opposition’s best efforts to scuttle it ensures with almost complete political and legal certainty that Israel’s prime minister a year and 10 months from now, at the latest, will be Lapid.

The coalition agreement of last June between Bennett and Lapid states that Lapid will take over the premiership seat after two years of Bennett sitting in this chair. Under an amendment to the quasi-constitutional Basic Law, the government, instigated last year, even if the government is brought down for some reason before Bennett and Lapid implement their agreed half-term job switch, Lapid would automatically become prime minister and head a transitional government until a new government is formed. To sum up, this week marked the completion of Bennett’s mission, augured the realization of Lapid’s dream and drew former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closer to the end of his political road.

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