Yair Lapid takes over as Israel’s 14th prime minister

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Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid speaks during a faction meeting at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem, on July 26, 2021. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ???? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????

Yair Lapid officially became 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 outgoing prime minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday afternoon.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.” Ps. 122:6

New Prime Minister Yair Lapid (L) holds a meeting with Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, July 1, 2022. (Haim Zach/GPO)

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.

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