After Handover Ceremony, Lapid Takes Over at Midnight

By Hamodia Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, left, and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid after a vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

YERUSHALAYIM — Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid switched jobs on Thursday, hours after the Knesset voted to disband, activating a coalition agreement that provides for Alternate Prime Minister Lapid to become interim Prime Minister and outgoing PM Bennett to serve as APM.

In the handover ceremony, Bennett and Lapid exchanged best wishes and expressions of mutual admiration and friendship.

“This special role, and this country, don’t belong to just one person but to all of the people of Israel,” said Bennett.

“I’m passing on to you the sacred baton, and responsibility for the State of Israel. I hope you protect it and that G-d will protect you.”

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

Lapid is set to assume the duties of the premiership at midnight. He will also continue in his current role of foreign minister. Bennett said on Wednesday that once the interim government runs its course, after elections and a new government is established, he will be retiring from politics for an indefinite period.

Earlier, in a departure from tradition whereby an incoming prime minister visits the Kosel, Lapid went to Yad Vashem, explaining that he did so to honor his father, who survived the Holocaust.

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