Sore loser? Lapid refuses handshake with Netanyahu as new government sworn in

“We pass onto you a state in excellent condition. Try not to destroy it, we’ll be right back,” Lapid said.

By World News Israel Staff

As Benjamin Netanyahu made his dramatic return as Israel’s prime minister for a sixth term, Yair Lapid left the plenary hall without shaking his successor’s hand as per the custom.

After being sworn-in, Netanyahu, who was interrupted by heckling, took the podium and chastized the Lapid-led opposition for lamenting “the end of democracy.”

“This new government is determined to restore governance, peace, and personal security to the citizens of Israel.”

“I hear the opposition eulogizing ‘the end of democracy.’ Members of the opposition, losing the elections is not the end of democracy – it is the essence of democracy,” he said.

“A democratic regime is tested first of all by the willingness of the losing side to accept the majority’s decision,” Netanyahu went on.

“In a functioning democracy, the rules of the game are respected. We saw it just now in a different context, in the World Cup final, when French fans were disappointed like you, but they accepted the end result and even applauded the Argentinian team. I know you won’t applaud, but I do expect you to respect the voters’ decision and cease rebelling against the elected government.”

Read  'Foreign diplomats aren't infallible' - Netanyahu hits back at US attack on Smotrich

Referring to throngs of left-wing activists protesting outside the Knesset, the new premier went on, “In a democracy, you don’t climb the Capitol fences and you don’t climb the Knesset fences.”

Netanyahu outlined three items on his agenda for the new government, Israel’s 37th.

The first would be to “thwart Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons.” The second is to develop the country’s infrastructure,  and the third would be to “expand the circle of peace” with Arab nations.

Protesters outside the Knesset waved LGBTQ fans as well as Israeli flags. Netanyahu’s coalition has come under fire for including the anti-gay Noam party.

Netanyahu has made it clear that his government would not make moves against the LGBTQ community.

Amir Ohana from Netanyahu’s Likud party was sworn in as Speaker of the Knesset on Thursday, becoming the first openly gay person in the senior role.

During his speech, MKs Meir Porush and Moshe Gafni from Israel’s ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, covered their faces as Ohana thanked his husband and their two children.

Netanyahu concluded his speech by saying he was as “overwhelmed as the first time” as the first time he became prime minister in 1996.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank my dear and beloved family, my wife Sara who is here today and is always by my side, my sons Yair and Avner, who always stand by me,” he said.

Read  While we get distracted, antisemites undermine societal stability in Israel - opinion

He ended by reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing thanking God for “reaching this time.”

Lapid later took to twitter, saying the power handover was carried out “with great reluctance.”

“We pass onto you a state in excellent condition, with a strong economy, with improved security capabilities and a powerful deterrent force, with our international status at the highest it has ever been. Try not to destroy it, we’ll be right back,” Lapid tweeted.