Prime Minister Modi congratulates Israel on forming new government, Netanyahu thanks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for sending a congratulatory message on the formation of a new government in the country and pledged to strengthen “important” relations between the two countries.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Prime Minister Netanyahu on forming a coalition government in his country after months of political uncertainty. Modi tweeted in Hebrew and English, “Congratulations to my friend Netanyahu for forming a fifth Israeli government.”

“I wish you and Benny Gantz all the best and look forward to working with your government to further strengthen the India-Israel strategic partnership,” he said.

The new government led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was sworn in on Sunday. This marked the end of the longest political stalemate in the country's history. At the time of the suspension, the caretaker government had been in power for more than five hundred days, and no one had won a clear majority in three consecutive elections. During the vote of confidence in the new government, the Knesset received 63 votes in favor and 48 against.

With no clear majority in the election, Netanyahu formed a government with rival Neil and Benny Gantz of the White Party. The new government will have 36 ministers and 16 deputy ministers.

Gantz was sworn in as defense minister and alternative prime minister. Netanyahu will step down after 18 months in the new government and Gantz will take over as prime minister on November 1, 2021, according to a power-sharing deal under the coalition. The Knesset also elected Yariv Levine of Netanyahu's Likud party as the new president. Opposition leader Yair Lapid has criticized the new government, and in particular his old allies Gantz and Gobi Askanaji, who broke their pre-election alliance and joined hands with Netanyahu.