Lapid and Netanyahu Clash over Security Briefings
On Friday, the leader of the opposition, Benjamin Netanyahu called the new interim prime minister, Yair Lapid. He stated that he hoped the four-month term of the premier would be quiet in terms of security until the elections. However, he also warned the newly minted prime minister that his political competitors would not provide any tranquility leading up to the elections scheduled on November 1st.
Netanyahu calls Lapid
The call from Netanyahu to Lapid was the first conversation that was publicly disclosed between the two after the latter took up the post of caretaker prime minister. After the collapse of the government that was led by a coalition of eight parties under Naftali Bennett, Lapid has the responsibility of leading the country until the elections when a new government is formed.
A spokesperson of the Likud party said that Netanyahu had wished Lapid ‘security quiet’ for four months. Netanyahu is the leader of the opposition and former prime minister of Israel, who had held the office from 2009 and 2021. He is now attempting to return to power once more. During the conversation between the two, there was a disagreement about how the updates about the security situations in Israel would be provided to the opposition leader.
According to a spokesperson of Lapid, the new premier had invited Netanyahu to attend a security briefing with the military secretary in this office. Netanyahu’s spokesperson disclosed that the opposition leader did not want Lapid to be present when he got the legally mandated security updates. He stated that this was to prevent the meeting from turning into a political tool before the elections.
The former premier’s concern was to not be photographed or seen by the new prime minister that he wants to defeat in the next elections.
The law in Israel requires the leader of the opposition to receive security updates from the country’s prime minister. In the past year, Netanyahu had refused to comply with this law, as he stated that he did not believe the legitimacy of Naftali Bennett’s premiership.
Instead, it was Avi Gil, the military secretary of Bennett, who gave him the updates. He was able to manage to not get photographed while his political rival briefed him.
Difference in statements
The statements from Lapid described the call from Netanyahu as a congratulatory one, but his political rival did not use the same language. In addition, the statement from the opposition leader referred to Lapid as the ‘interim prime minister’, but Lapid is just called the prime minister in the readout from his office.
Lapid took the position of the 14th prime minister of Israel at midnight between Thursday and Friday. He received immediate congratulations from US President Joe Biden via a tweet, who is expected to visit the country in less than two weeks. Lapid will also fly to France for meeting the country’s president on July 5th. He is the first non-right-wing prime minister of Israel after 2001 when Ehud Barak had left office and had only entered politics 10 years ago.