Yair Lapid Hails Abraham Accords in First Address as PM, Says More Deals Expected

The caretaker prime minister highlights that Israel will do 'everything necessary' from 'Tehran to Gaza' to counter Iran and prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons

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Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks from the Prime Minister's Office, on Saturday night.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid speaks from the Prime Minister's Office, on Saturday night.Credit: Government Press Office

Israel's caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid hailed the Abraham Accords on Saturday and said more deals would be on their way, during his first address to the nation.

"We believe that there is a great blessing in the Abraham Accords, a great blessing in the security and economic momentum built during the Negev Summit with the Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Egypt," he said. "And there will be a great blessing in the agreements that are yet to come. The people of Israel will not be alone."

"Our job is to continue to strengthen our position in the world and our relationship with our great friend the United States, and to harness the international community to combat antisemitism and Israel's delegitimization," Lapid added.

Speaking on regional security, Lapid highlighted that Iran is the top threat to Israel, emphasizing that Israel will do "everything necessary" to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons or entrenching itself on Israel's borders. "I say to all who wish us harm, from Gaza to Tehran, from the shores of Lebanon to Syria: Do not try us. Israel will know how to use its power in the face of any threat and any enemy," he said.

"We believe that as long as security needs are maintained, Israel is a peace-loving country. Israel is extending a hand to all peoples of the Middle East, including the Palestinians, to say, 'It is time for you to recognize that we will never move from here – let us learn to live together,'" Lapid said.

The prime minister further addressed what he referred to as the rift in Israeli society, saying divisions are being stoked by a vicious political environment. "We have to stop this," he said. "This is our challenge."

"Extremism in Israel does not shift from the streets into politics. It is the other way around – it flows like lava from politics into the streets," he said, adding that the political arena has only grown "more extreme, more violent and evil."

Lapid replaced his coalition partner Naftali Bennett at midnight on Thursday to become Israel's 14th prime minister, assuming the position of caretaker premier until a new government is sworn in after the November 1 early election. Bennett and Lapid moved last month to disband the Knesset after infighting made their ruling coalition no longer tenable.

On Tuesday, Lapid is expected to land in Paris to meet with President Emmanuel Macron, and when he returns he will prepare for U.S. President Joe Biden's visit in two weeks. In another move to solidify his image as the premier, he will be moving into the compound of the prime minister's official residence in Jerusalem, where he'll live in an alternative apartment until renovations to the residence itself are completed.

In the coming days, Lapid will be holding one-on-one meetings with the government's ministers, with whom he has been working as foreign minister over the past year. A good working relationship with them will help the caretaker government pass laws faster – and any achievements will reflect well on his government.

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