Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's uninterrupted 12-year tenure is set to end on Sunday when parliament votes on a new government
Netanyahu, who is battling a clutch of corruption charges in an ongoing trial he dismisses as a conspiracy, has pushed Israeli politics firmly to the right over the years.
Netanyahu, 71, the most dominant Israeli politician of his generation, had failed to form a government after a March 23 election, the fourth in two years.
Naftali Bennett, the head of a small ultranationalist party, will take over as prime minister. But if he wants to keep the job, he will have to maintain an unwieldy coalition of parties from the political right, left and center.
Bennett, a hawkish hi-tech millionaire and an Orthodox Jew, tweeted a photograph of himself at prayer, captioned with a Biblical blessing. He will serve as premier for two years before Lapid, a former TV host, takes over.
Both Bennett and Lapid have said they want to bridge political divides and unite Israelis under a government that will work hard for all its citizens.
Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption, remains the head of the largest party in parliament and is expected to vigorously oppose the new government. If just one faction bolts, it could lose its majority and would be at risk of collapse, giving him an opening to return to power.
The 36th government’s swearing-in signifies a changing of the guard. Though Netanyahu is likely to stick around, the new government will mark a major step in drawing to a close the era of a 71-year-old prime minister, born one year after the establishment of the state, while pushing Israel’s younger high-tech and media-savvy generation into power.
On the international stage, with his polished English and booming baritone voice, the telegenic Netanyahu has become the face of Israel. Serving in his first term as prime minister in the 1990s and since 2009 winning four more terms in succession, he has been a polarising figure, both abroad and at home.