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In 12 yrs, Israeli govt sans Netanyahu begins work

The formal handover ceremony of the Prime Minister was not held.

IANS | Tel Aviv |

In 12 years, Israel’s new government without former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins work.

The country’s new prime minister Naftali Bennett and his predecessor Netanyahu met on Monday afternoon for a transition meeting, Xinhua news agency.

The formal handover ceremony was not held.

David Bitan, a lawmaker with Netanyahu’s Likud party, told state-owned Kan news TV that Netanyahu would not hold the ceremony because he feels “cheated” by the establishment of the new government and “doesn’t want to give even the slightest legitimacy to this matter”.

Bennett and alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid were sworn in on Sunday after Parliament narrowly approved their new coalition government.

Bennett, former Defence Minister, will serve as Prime Minister for the first two-year term and Lapid as alternate PM and Foreign Minister before rotating for the rest of the term.

On Monday morning, President Reuven Rivlin hosted Bennett, Lapid and the ministers at his official residence in Jerusalem for the official photo of the new government.

Later, the government’s 28 ministers entered their offices and handover ceremonies were held.

Netanyahu’s exit also ended a lingering political crisis that has seen four rounds of elections in two years.