Bennett will step aside to be replaced by Lapid, his partner in the unlikely coalition of opposites that ended former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record 12-year rule 12 months ago.
Lapid, a former journalist who heads the largest party in the coalition, will serve as interim prime minister until new elections can be held.
"Well I am not happy, I think the country needs stability and having elections every several months or even every year is not good. I don't think there is a big difference between Bennett and Netanyahu, as far as their attitude or their policies, but I think the country was right for a change. And I did want to see Bennett stay in power for longer and gain more experience unfortunately I think what it means is that Netanyahu now is going to come back to power," said an investment manager Etian Etzioni.
While Clotlda Cohen felt a relief hoping that Israel's opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu will return to power.
"I think this is bad for Israel, for all the people, because Bibi (Netanyahu) was the only one and the best. I think for the older people we wait for this, wait for a long time," she said.
A vote will be held in parliament next week, after which Lapid will take over the premiership, according to Bennett's spokesperson.
The move comes just weeks ahead of a planned visit by U.S. President Joe Biden which the government had been counting on to help boost regional security ties against Israel's longtime enemy Iran.
However, the eight-party coalition, including hard-right, liberal and Arab parties with deep differences on questions from religion to the Palestinian issue, had faced growing strains as its slight majority was cut by defections.
Lapid said he would not wait until the new elections to address the problems facing Israel.
Bennett, a former commando and tech millionaire who entered national politics in 2013 defended his government's record, saying it had boosted economic growth, cut unemployment and eliminated the deficit for the first time in 14 years.
But as pressure on the government increased in recent days, he was unable to hold the coalition together and decided to step aside before Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party could table a motion of its own to dissolve parliament.
Netanyahu, who has vowed a comeback despite facing trial for corruption, said Likud would lead the next government and he poured scorn on Bennett, a right-wing politician who was once one of his closest aides.
In Gaza, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, said it would not alter its course with any new government.
"We must resist to regain the full rights of our people,” said spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.
Published : June 21, 2022
By : Reuters