At handover ceremony, Israel’s new chief diplomat vows to work
with Prime Minister Bennett to counter the emerging deal between
Iran and world powers.
Israel will work relentlessly to ensure Iran’s nuclear ambitions are frustrated, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid at the handover ceremony in Jerusalem in which he took over the position held by Gabi Ashkenazi since 2020.
Lapid, who was also sworn in as the next prime minister under the rotation agreement with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that will take effect in two years, echoed former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in warning against lifting the pressure on Iran.
Lapid said he voiced these concerns in his conversation with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken just hours after he was sworn in on Sunday, as well as the French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We have to work together as we face a new Iran deal. This is a bad deal and we are going to work with the prime minister. Israel will use every option at its disposal in order to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon,” he told the ministry’s staff.
He blamed the previous government for “neglecting” the ministry and this hurt Israel’s image abroad. “I warned this could happen but the previous government made a bad gamble and it focused on the Republicans. They are important to us, but not just them.”
He vowed to continue with the peace process started by Netanyahu and the previous US administration, which led to 4 peace deals with Arab countries, known collectively as the Abraham Accords.
“We will sign more agreements with additional countries. The Palestinian arena will define to a large extent what the other theaters will look like, and we have a lot to do to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians and to improve the dialogue.”
He said that regarding Hamas, “the world does not always understand what we have to deal with; we have to make sure to the world that we face a terrorist organization that does not shy away from firing on children and schools. This government will retaliate without any hesitation. ”