Prime Minister Lapid pushes to meet with Netanyahu in person for customary security briefing; opposition leader wants briefing without Lapid present.
By World Israel News Staff
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid invited opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu to a meeting, offering to update him on current matters of state.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Lapid offered the meeting Sunday, in keeping with the law requiring a new premier to consult with the opposition leader of the Knesset upon assuming office.
“In accordance with Knesset Law, I would like to invite you as soon as possible to a status update meeting on the national affairs on the agenda,” Lapid wrote in the invitation to Likud party leader Netanyahu on Sunday.
The meeting planned by Lapid would include his Military Secretary, Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil.
The invitation comes after Netanyahu rebuffed an offer Lapid made on Friday to join a security briefing in the Prime Minister’s Office.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister noted that the offer made by Lapid to host Netanyahu at a security briefing has become a tradition following the transfer of power in Israeli governments.
Netanyahu turned down the offer however, requesting instead that the security briefing be provided without Lapid’s presence.
Netanyahu “suggested that the security briefing be carried out by the Military Secretary in order to prevent the security briefing from turning into a political tool ahead of elections.”
Hebrew media reports suggest that Netanyahu does not want to be seen or photographed being briefed by Lapid. During last year’s government transition, Netanyahu refused to brief the incoming Naftali Bennett.
Lapid’s office said that Netanyahu called the prime minister Friday to congratulate him, while emphasizing the short duration of the caretaker government Lapid now leads.
“I want to wish you and all of us that the next four months be a period of quiet in terms of security,” Netanyahu is quoted as saying.
While the Knesset opposition leader has by tradition met with the incoming Prime Minister for the security briefing, it is not required by law.
Last year, Netanyahu did not meet with then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for the briefing, and instead was updated by Maj.-Gen. Gil.
Lapid officially became prime minister at midnight between Thursday and Friday, taking office as the 14th premier in Israel’s history.
Lapid’s statements after the conversation Friday with Netanyahu described the opposition leader’s call as congratulatory, though such language was not used according to his rival.
A statement by Netanyahu referred to Lapid as “interim prime minister,” whereas Lapid is referred to simply as “prime minister” in his office’s readout.