Lapid takes over a caretaker government ahead of national elections on November 1.
Israeli Foreign Minister, Yair Lapid officially becomes Prime Minister at the stroke of midnight between Thursday and Friday, taking office as the 14th premier in Israel’s history. Lapid’s term leading the country could be a fairly short one, as he takes over a caretaker government ahead of national elections on November 1.
But the new Prime Minister appeared determined to make the most of the potentially brief tenure, and bolster his prospects of winning a full term in four months’ time. “We’ll do the best we can for a Jewish, democratic state, good and strong and thriving, because that is the job, and it’s bigger than all of us,” Lapid said at a handover ceremony with the outgoing Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett on Thursday afternoon.
On his first day in office, Friday, Lapid’s first agenda item was a meeting with Ronen Bar, the head of the Shin Bet security agency, at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv. A statement from Lapid’s office said the meeting included a “broad defense and intelligence briefing on what is happening on the different fronts.”
Shortly afterward, the new Prime Minister held a meeting to discuss “the captives and MIAs” — a reference to the two Israeli men and the remains of two IDF soldiers being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The particularly sensitive issue returned to the headlines once again this week after Hamas disseminated a video showing Israeli captive Hisham al-Sayed hooked up to an oxygen mask — the first image of him seen since he crossed into Gaza in 2015. Hamas is believed to also be holding Avera Mengistu, as well as the remains of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Talks to secure their release have stalled repeatedly over the years.