image Photo: Flash90

Smooth power transition in Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has held a series of meetings marking an orderly transition of power.

A brief, 30-minute meeting with former leader Benjamin Netanyahu was held behind closed-doors office at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in Jerusalem on Monday, in a departure from a traditional ceremonial exchange in front of the cameras observed by previous administrations.

Bennett then toured the various wings of the PMO, where he greeted staffers and inquired after their wellbeing, and wished everyone continued productivity.

Two consecutive meetings followed with his Military Secretary, Brigadier General Avi Blut and National Security Council Director Meir Ben-Shabbat, who provided the new Israeli leader with a comprehensive overview, as well as issues demanding his immediate attention.

Prime Minister Bennett held his first working meeting yesterday with Nadav Argaman, who leads the Israeli Security Agency (ISA, better known by its Hebrew acronym Shin Bet), when he received an intelligence briefing on activity in the various domestic spheres for which the ISA is responsible. At Prime Minister Bennett’s request,  Argaman’s term as ISA Director has been extended until October 2021.

This was followed by a briefing to Israeli’s 13th Premier on all foreign intelligence activity service by Mossad Director David Barnea.

Meanwhile, the 27 new Ministers held customary changing-of-the-guard ceremonies with their outgoing counterparts.

The 36th Israeli “government of change”  took the oath of office on Sunday following a vote of confidence by the 24th Knesset. All of the lawmakers were elected on 23 March. 

Under terms of their coalition rotational deal, Bennett, who heads the nationalist Yamina party, will be replaced as Prime Minister by centrist Yesh Atid faction leader Yair Lapid in 2023.