Netanyahu Gets Booted, Then Makes Seating Faux Pas

He sat down in prime minister's chair after getting booted, though it appears to have been inadvertent
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2021 11:18 AM CDT

Israel has a new prime minister, but the old one seems rather resistant to leaving his post. Naftali Bennett officially took over the job on Monday from Benjamin Netanyahu, after the latter's 12-year rule, and the friction surrounding Netanyahu's ouster was apparent. First, there was no traditional handing-over ceremony, which the AP calls "a sign of Netanyahu's lingering anger and hostility toward the new government." Then there was his farewell speech, which Charles Pierce of Esquire notes was less than gracious. "The right will not forget Bennett's deception," Netanyahu said before the parliamentary vote that booted him. "I will lead you in a daily battle against this bad and dangerous left-wing government, and bring it down. And with the help of God, this will happen faster than you think."

Even the seating arrangements in the Knesset came into play, with the BBC noting that Netanyahu still seemed to be in denial even after he was knocked out of power. The outlet features a video showing that, immediately after the vote on Sunday, Netanyahu shook Bennett's hand, then went to sit down—but instead of moving to take his new place on the opposition benches, he plopped down in the more familiar PM seat, as if nothing had changed. The BBC gives Netanyahu the benefit of the doubt that he was simply on autopilot, noting "old habits are hard to shake," and indeed, Netanyahu seemed to realize his mistake only when someone came over to whisper it to him. He then moved over to the opposition area, where Yair Lapid—the "power behind the throne" who will take over the PM role from Bennett in 2023—cleared off Netanyahu's new desk. (More Benjamin Netanyahu stories.)

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