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World leaders congratulate Bennett and Lapid on new government

Merkel, Johnson, Trudeau, Putin all promise to continue to expand ties under new government that ousted Netanyahu after 12 years in power

Leaders of the G7 pose for a group photo on overlooking the beach at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, Friday, June 11, 2021. Leaders from left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Charles Michel, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)
Leaders of the G7 pose for a group photo on overlooking the beach at the Carbis Bay Hotel in Carbis Bay, St. Ives, Cornwall, England, Friday, June 11, 2021. Leaders from left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, European Council President Charles Michel, U.S. President Joe Biden, Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, French President Emmanuel Macron, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

World leaders were quick to congratulate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on forming a new government on Sunday.

The United States led the way, with phone calls from US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated the two after their alliance of parties ousted Benjamin Netanyahu and formed a new government.

“Germany and Israel are connected by a unique friendship that we want to strengthen further. With this in mind, I look forward to working closely with you,” Merkel said in a message addressed to Bennett and shared by her spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer on Twitter.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the chorus of congratulations, tweeting that: “As we emerge from COVID-19, this is an exciting time for the UK and Israel to continue working together to advance peace and prosperity for all.”

Israel’s new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (right) and alternate PM Yair Lapid in the Knesset, June 13, 2021. (EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP)

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also expressed his hopes for “continued cooperation on security, trade and climate change, and working together to secure peace in the region.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Bennett Monday and expressed hope for “constructive” cooperation with the new government.

“I expect that your work at the helm of the government will facilitate a further development of constructive bilateral cooperation in all directions” to help strengthen “peace, security and stability in the Middle East.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent his congratulations to Bennett, saying he “looks forward” to working with him.

“Canada and Israel are close friends bound together by shared democratic values, a long history of cooperation, and vibrant people-to-people ties,” Trudeau said in a statement released by his office.

The prime minister reiterated that Ottawa “remains steadfast in its commitment to a two-state solution, with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace, security, and dignity – without fear and with their human rights respected.”

He also thanked Netanyahu, who had been in power for 12 years before being ousted on Sunday, “for his valuable partnership over the years, at a time when Canada and Israel achieved a great deal together.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, known for his close relations with Netanyahu, issued a Hebrew-language tweet addressed at Bennett, congratulating him and saying: “Ahead of marking 30 years since the upgrading of diplomatic ties next year, I look forward to meeting you and deepening our countries’ strategic relations.”

EU Council President Charles Michel also congratulated the new government.

“Looking forward to strengthen(ing) the (EU-Israel) partnership for common prosperity and towards lasting regional peace & stability,” he tweeted.

The European Council represents the European Union’s member states.

In a tweet, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he’d spoken to Lapid to congratulate him and “discussed the importance of strengthening the bilateral EU-IL partnership & promoting security & peace in the region.

“Looking forward to working together & welcoming you soon in Brussels.”

Also expressing support was Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. “I look forward to working with you. Austria is committed to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and will continue to stand by Israel‘s side,” he tweeted.

Bennett is taking over at the helm of an Israeli government pieced together by an eight-party coalition, united largely by their opposition to  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.”

The diverse anti-Netanyahu bloc was cobbled together by the secular centrist Lapid, a former TV presenter.

It spans the political spectrum, with three right-wing, two centrist, and two left-wing parties, as well as an Arab Islamic party.

 

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