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Netnayahu addreses the Knesset. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty

Hours before a vote to oust him, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused President Biden of endangering Israel's security by taking a soft line on Iran, and claimed his successor, Naftali Bennett, would be too weak to stand up to Washington.

Why it matters: Netanyahu waged a desperate but unsuccessful campaign to stop a "change coalition" from joining together to replace him after an inconclusive election in March. Facing an imminent demotion to opposition leader, he foreshadowed a willingness to damage the U.S.-Israel relationship to put his rival under pressure.

"He decided to damage the U.S.-Israel relationship for his own personal interests and is trying to leave scorched earth for the incoming government."
— Senior Israeli diplomat on Netanyahu

Driving the news: Bennett, a right-wing former tech entrepreneur, will lead the most ideologically diverse coalition in Israeli history, with its members united by little more than a desire to remove Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption and battled through what seemed like a never ending cycle of elections over the past two years.

  • Bennett spoke before Netanyahu, but as he was trying to present his platform, allies of Netanyahu continuously interrupted him with shouts of "liar" and "fraud."
  • Bennett took a hard line on the Iran deal in his speech, saying it was a mistake in 2015 and remains one today. He also thanked Biden for his support for Israel, stressed that he wants good relations with both parties in Washington, and drew a contrast with Netanyahu by promising that any disagreements with Biden will be managed with "mutual trust and respect."
  • Bennett's coalition partner, centrist Yair Lapid, forwent his opportunity to speak next, citing the interruptions during Bennett's speech, which he said were a disgrace.

Then Netanyahu rose to speak. He accused Bennett of being weak and untrustworthy (noting that he'd broken a campaign pledge by forming a government with Lapid), and said his protege-turned-rival would refuse to stand up to Biden on Iran.

  • Netanyahu claimed that the Biden administration had asked him to keep their disagreements on Iran private, but that he refused to do so, valuing his hard line on Iran over smooth relations with the U.S.
  • Netanyahu positioned himself as the only man standing between Iran and an arsenal of nuclear weapons, and claimed Iranians were celebrating his departure. He also compared Biden's Iran policy to the refusal of the U.S. to bomb the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.
  • He also said he'd rejected U.S. demands to freeze settlement construction and opposed Biden's plan to reopen the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem, which handled relations with the Palestinians before being shut down by Donald Trump. Again, he claimed Bennett lacked the stature or credibility to take similar stands.

Between the lines: Despite Bennett's right-wing politics and hardline positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many senior officials in the Biden administration will be be happy to see the end of Netanyahu's tenure.

The latest: The new government survived a confidence vote with the narrowest possible majority — 60 to 59 with one abstention — and Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

  • Netanyahu vowed to bring the "dangerous" government down, and "much sooner than you think."

Go deeper: Netanyahu rejects Trump comparisons, pledges peaceful transition of power

Go deeper

Sep 14, 2021 - World

Scoop: Blinken to host event marking Abraham Accords anniversary

Blinken (L) with Israeli foriegn minister Yair Lapid. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty

Secretary of State Tony Blinken will hold a virtual meeting on Friday with his counterparts from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Abraham Accords.

Why it matters: This is the most active and public show of support by the Biden administration for the agreements, which were President Trump’s landmark foreign policy achievement.

Sep 14, 2021 - World

Iran's nuclear negotiator replaced by hardliner

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Photo: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty

Iran's outgoing nuclear negotiator has been replaced as deputy foreign minister for political affairs by an ultra-hardliner, potentially further complicating efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

The state of play: It's not yet clear whether the new deputy foreign minister, Ali Bagheri, will play as central a role in nuclear negotiations as his predecessor, Abbas Araghchi. Araghchi was Iran's chief nuclear negotiator since 2013, played a key role in reaching the 2015 deal and comes from the more moderate camp.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.