Lapid Moves into Apartment while PM Residence under Construction
On Saturday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid moved into a ‘secure’ apartment with his wife Lihi in Jerusalem. The Prime Minister’s Residence nearby is undergoing construction work, as its security needs an upgrade. The apartment has already been made secure and it is close to Balfour Street in Jerusalem, where the official residence of the premier is located.
Shin Bet talks to Lapid
Ronen Bar, the head of the Shin Bet security service, had a meeting on Friday with Yair Lapid. The premier was informed that most of the shortcomings in the infrastructure that were mentioned in the report of the State Comptroller had not been fixed as yet.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said that the fastest course of action would be taken for expediting the infrastructure and security renovation at the residence on Balfour Street. Meanwhile, Lapid will reside at a secure compound that belongs to Shin Bet.
The apartment has previously been used for Shin Bet guards as barracks and the Guatemalan embassy had used it before that. Security measures will also be implemented by the Shin Bet at Lapid’s private home in Tel Aviv. Bar disclosed that they would keep these minimal and necessary, so the neighbors do not get disturbed.
Lapid was also informed that in order to keep costs to a minimum, the Shin Bet would transfer some of the existing security measures from other areas.
Lapid does not want criticism
Lihi Lapid shared a picture of their new apartment on social media. The couple moved to Jerusalem after Yair Lapid became the 14th prime minister of Israel between Thursday and Friday at midnight. The Knesset was dispersed and new elections scheduled to take place on November 1st after Naftali Bennett’s government collapsed.
Bennett had been the prime minister for the past year and had received a lot of criticism for not moving to the official residence and staying in Ra’anana at his family home. The neighbors and critics of the premier had slammed the nuisance and cost associated with the layers of security that had to be added. Likewise, neighbors also had to put up with the inconvenience caused by the protests that were conducted regularly outside the prime minister’s house.
Since Lapid lives in one of Tel Aviv’s densely populated areas, it would be extremely costly to secure his home. Therefore, Lapid has decided to move to avoid this kind of criticism.
The Balfour residence
The Shin Bet security agency had informed Naftali Bennett that the Balfour residence had to be have some construction done, so he had not been able to move. Before that, it had served as the residence of Benjamin Netanyahu for 12 years. During this final year as the premier, there had been regular protests outside Netanyahu’s home, as tens of thousands of people would come every night.
Since Netanyahu left in July, the residence has remained empty. As it had to be renovated, Bennett did not move to Balfour Street and he also stated that he had not wanted to disrupt his children’s education. It remains unclear as to when the renovations will end.