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Lapid says he fears for Israel's security after briefing with Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s Likud party reportedly blames former PM Lapid for ‘surrender to Hezbollah’ in the Lebanese maritime gas deal

Opposition leader Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a security meeting at military HQ in Tel Aviv, April 9, 2023. (Photo: Government handout)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited opposition leader Yair Lapid to a security briefing on Sunday afternoon at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv. 

In Israel, it is customary for the opposition leader to receive periodic security briefings with the prime minister.

Following the meeting, Lapid hosted a televised news briefing, stating that “I came to Netanyahu’s briefing worried, and I left even more worried.” 

The words echo those of Netanyahu as opposition leader, when he left a security briefing with Lapid in August – when the roles were reversed – and told reporters after the update, “Unfortunately, I have to say that I left more worried.”

In the news briefing, Lapid said he told Netanyahu to cancel dismissing Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, saying, “The State of Israel needs a full-time defense minister.” 

Lapid reportedly told Netanyahu that “the opposition will back any action recommended by the security forces in the face of the wave of terror, and against our enemies in all arenas,” and that the prime minister “must admit that his Cabinet cannot be trusted.” 

The opposition leader recommended Netanyahu set up a small security forum to handle problems and that he recuse National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir from all matters related to the Temple Mount. Lapid also told Netanyahu that he should remove National Security Minister Bezalel Smotrich from the Defense Ministry, saying that having two ministers in the Defense Ministry is “unreasonable.” 

Lapid warned that Israel’s enemies are watching and seeing “an incompetent government,” while he affirmed Netanyahu’s position that Iran represents Israel’s greatest threat. 

Nevertheless, Lapid said, “This is not how the Iranian threat can be dealt with.” 

Netanyahu did not respond directly to Lapid’s comments, but the Likud party issued a statement condemning them as “petty politics.” 

“It is unfortunate that at a time when Israel is fighting on three fronts, and after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited him for a comprehensive security update, Yair Lapid chooses to do petty politics instead of conveying a message of unconditional unity vis-à-vis our enemies,” the statement read. 

Likud also chastised Lapid for leaving the coalition “a difficult legacy” and accused him of “surrender” to the Hezbollah terrorist organization by entering into a maritime gas deal with Lebanon, which many see as unfavorable to Israel. 

“Lapid, who dealt a fatal blow to deterrence in his surrender agreement to Hezbollah on the gas issue, who repeats Hamas’ narrative regarding the Temple Mount and is widely quoted in Iran as predicting the destruction of Israel, left us a difficult legacy with which we are forced to deal these days,” according to the Likud statement. 

In light of growing cooperation between the terrorist organizations that are decidedly anti-Israel – Hamas and Hezbollah leaders met yesterday in Lebanon – the Likud party stated that “the opposition leader was expected to show national responsibility.” 

Lapid issued a response maligning the Israeli government.

“I said that we will give every military operation a safety net. We will not enter a government like this because as I said, this is not the government that needs to lead the country of Israel,” he said. 

Former Defense Minister Benny Gantz also held a news briefing, even though he was not part of Netanyahu’s security briefing. 

Gantz affirmed that “in everything related to the security of the country, to the rule of law and democracy, I will support in every correct move with a full heart.” 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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