December 7, 2022

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In First Speech as PM, Lapid Calls for Unity

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On Saturday evening, Yair Lapid, the 14th Prime Minister of Israel, gave his first televised speech. As Israel will be undergoing its fifth elections in the last three and a half years, Lapid said that Israeli politics had seen an extreme and violent discourse of late and said that it was necessary to be respectful and united.

Israel wants peace

Lapid spoke from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and said that Israel wants to ensure peace where the Palestinians are concerned, but also said that they would take action against anyone plotting against them, especially when it comes to the nuclear program in Iran.

Yair Lapid will serve as Israel’s interim prime minster, a position he took after the dispersal of the Knesset and will maintain until elections are conducted on November 1st and a new government is elected. However, the way things stand, there is a good chance that the vote will be deadlocked once more and would drag on the political stalemate in the country.

The premier said that it was the State of Israel that was important because it would always remain, even after they are gone. He said that they need to work for the common good and stay united. He said disagreements would happen and they just had to figure out how to manage them.

He said that even though they managed to reach nation-wide agreement on topics that are important, there is still a lot of hate and polarization in society.

Politics promotes extremism

According to the new prime minister, it is politics that is breeding extremism, as the political sphere has gotten violent and vicious and is affecting Israeli society. This was a reference to the rhetoric of Benjamin Netanyahu, the leader of the opposition, who has led a scathing campaign against the coalition that had removed him from power a year earlier.

He had been particularly focused on the willingness of both Bennett and Lapid to include the Islamist Ra’am party in the coalition. Lapid also thanked his predecessor with whom he had the power-sharing agreement that has made him caretaker prime minister now.

He expressed gratitude for Bennett’s friendship and decency and for heading a government that had made security and economic achievements that hadn’t happened for years. He also thanked him for keeping his agreement and ensuring a smooth transition.

Jab at Netanyahu

This comment from Lapid was a jab directed at the opposition leader, as Netanyahu had broken a power rotation agreement in 2020 with Benny Gantz. He had only had a transition meeting of half an hour with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Lapid asserted that they wanted Israel to be a Jewish democratic country, where every citizen can choose the course of their life. He said that they should not deny anyone’s fundamental rights, whether it is liberty, respect, right to personal security and freedom of employment.

His stance with the Palestinians is quite different from that of Netanyahu, as he said that they want to ensure peace.

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