Incoming Prime Minister Lapid vows to ‘keep Israel strong’

Lapid went to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial immediately after dispersal vote in honor of his late father.

By World Israel News Staff

Yair Lapid on Thursday vowed to always “keep Israel strong,” hours before he was slated to be sworn in as Israel’s 14th prime minister.

The incoming prime minister visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem shortly after the Knesset passed a vote to disband itself.

“Immediately after the vote, I went to Yad Vashem,” Lapid said, “to assure Dad that I will always keep Israel strong, with the ability to defend itself and ensure the protection of its children.”

Lapid’s father, late politician Tommy Lapid, was captured by the Nazis as a child and later sent to the Budapest Ghetto.

The baton-passing ceremony earlier in the day was attended by senior members of both Lapid’s and Bennett’s offices and members of their families. During the ceremony, outgoing Prime Minister Bennett told Lapid: “This very special role, and this country – does not belong to one person, it belongs to all the people of Israel. I pray that that God will take care of you. ”

Addressing Lapid’s wife, Lihi, Bennett continued: “It’s not very easy to be the prime minister’s wife. But stability in the house, the warmth in the house […] will be the cornerstone of Yair’s success.”

He thanked his own wife, Gilat, and children for the past year of tumult. “I know it was not an easy year, but as I told you at the beginning, we are all in it together for the country. You paid a price for the country and you did it together.”

“Yair, good luck my brother,” Bennett concluded.

Lapid responded by saying: “I worked under prime ministers, I knew many prime ministers. You are a good man and an excellent prime minister, and you are a good friend. This is not a farewell ceremony because I have no intentions of saying goodbye to you.

“We’ll do the best we can for a Jewish, democratic state, good and strong and flourishing, because that is the job, and it’s bigger than all of us.”

A day earlier, Bennett announced that he would not be running in the upcoming elections, set for November 1.

The final tally for Thursday’s vote to disperse the Knesset was 92 in favor and none against.

Although Lapid will only become prime minister officially at midnight, he and Bennett immediately switched seats in the Knesset after the vote.

Lapid is slated to meet with all heads of the defense establishment as well as other senior officials to be briefed.

The incoming prime minister will move to Balfour in the coming days, marking a contrast from Bennett who controversially chose to stay in his family home in the central city of Ra’anana.

Next week, Lapid will fly to France to meet with President Emmanuel Macron for his first diplomatic visit as prime minister.

The latest polls show that the political stalemate in the country has not changed since March 2021, when the unity government was formed by cobbling together parties from the right, left and center that refused to sit in a government with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu.