American Jewish and pro-Israel groups welcomed the new Israeli government on Sunday, steered by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. Organizations expressed hope that the “change coalition” will bring political stability and a broad-based government reflecting a diverse Israeli society.
“Congratulations to the people of Israel on this historic day. This new government proudly reflects Israel’s broad and diverse societal makeup with political parties from the left to the right,” said Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “We are encouraged that the government’s wide-ranging agenda encompasses several important issues for ADL, including strengthening Israel’s security, addressing challenges of social cohesion in Israeli society, advancing religious pluralism and the relationships with Diaspora Jewish communities, securing Israel’s democratic foundations, providing assistance for Israel’s underserved communities and many others.”
“We wish Israel’s new leadership much success in its efforts to bring about political stability, positive social and economic changes, prosperity for its citizens and peace with its neighbors,” he continued.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder also applauded Israel.
“I congratulate the leaders of Israel’s political parties who have come together to form a government of national unity that includes all sides of the Israeli political spectrum, from right to left, religious to secular,” he said. “I am delighted that these efforts have now come to fruition and that this new government has been established.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tweeted: “AIPAC welcomes the new, diverse Israeli government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. We look forward to further bolstering the bond between the United States and Israel as the two democracies work in close partnership to advance our shared interests and values.”
The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations said in a statement: “We applaud Israel’s vibrant democracy as the thirty-sixth government of the State of Israel is sworn-in, and congratulate incoming Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and incoming Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, both longtime friends of the Conference of Presidents, and the other parties in the coalition on this historic occasion.”
“We salute outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his years of dedicated leadership and service to Israel and its people, as well as his contributions to world Jewry,” the organization’s message reads. “His immense legacy, including the Abraham Accords, leaves an indelible mark on the history of Israel and the entire region.”
The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) tweeted: “Please join us in praying for Naftali Bennett and the entire 36th government of our cherished ally, Israel. Congratulations to the new coalition and congratulations to Netanyahu for your highly successful, unprecedented tenure as Prime Minister.”
Democratic Majority for Israel Co-Chairs Ann Lewis and Todd Richman released a statement as well: “At this historic moment of change in Israel, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid,” they wrote.
“The Lapid-Bennett coalition creates a unity government comprised of eight parties, representing the left, right and center of Israeli politics and dedicated to protecting the democratic and Jewish character of the country,” the statement reads. “It will also be Israel’s most inclusive government ever, with Arabs, women, and Jews of color holding vital cabinet ministries. With Mansour Abbas’ Ra’am Party joining the coalition, Israel is now the only country in the Middle East where Jews and Arabs govern together.
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America National President Rhoda Smolow said: “Hadassah extends its best wishes and congratulations to Prime Minister Bennett, his cabinet ministers, alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid and the new Government of Israel. The new political leadership in Israel comes into power with opportunities at home, opportunities abroad and with unwavering friendship from Hadassah, which has supported each and every democratically elected Government of Israel.”
“Israel’s leaders will undoubtedly continue to provide for the safety and security of her people, fight antisemitism, develop relationships with new allies and deepen the enduring US-Israel relationship,” she added. “Hadassah members in the US stand ready to help draw our nations closer together and to protect and strengthen Israel against threats from near and far.”
The North American Reform Movement, the largest Jewish movement outside of Israel, voiced hope that Israel’s new government will renew ties with the movement in Israel and abroad, committing to furthering a pluralistic agenda.
“We also hope this government will reaffirm the importance of a strong US-Israel relationship, prioritizing bipartisan outreach and engagement,” they said.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) CEO David Harris expressed excitement about working with a new Israeli coalition.
“The new Israeli government reflects the country’s diversity and is determined to pursue peace, security, and prosperity,” Harris said. “AJC looks forward to working with the new coalition, as we have consistently done with every Israeli government since 1948, and we wish the leadership every success.”
Harris also praised former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s legacy.
“The prime minister of Israel is unquestionably among the most challenging leadership positions in the world,” said Harris, who most recently met with Netanyahu last month. “Prime Minister Netanyahu demonstrated impressive leadership on many issues, including expanding Israel’s diplomatic ties with nations around the world, extending peace with four Arab countries, maintaining Israel’s security in a volatile region, promoting exceptional achievements in innovation, spearheading the widely-admired handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explaining eloquently Israel’s unique challenges on the global stage.
“Moreover, his door was always open to AJC, including our young lay and staff leaders, Project Interchange visitors, and Global Forum invitations.”
The new coalition emerged in negotiations following March 23 elections, the fourth ballot in Israel in less than two years.
Sunday’s Knesset vote approving the government formally ended the leadership of Netanyahu, who was in office for 15 years, 12 consecutively, the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history.