For the First Time, Netanyahu Agrees to Attend Security Briefing in as Opposition Leader

Since the new government took office, Netanyahu refused to attend security briefings directly as usually done between the prime minister and opposition leader, and instead received updates from military secretaries

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Prime Minister Yair Lapid and opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu during a security briefing, Jerusalem, on Sunday.
Prime Minister Yair Lapid and opposition head Benjamin Netanyahu during a security briefing, Jerusalem, on Sunday.Credit: Haim Tzach/ GPO

Prime Minister Yair Lapid met with opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday at the Prime Minister's Office for a security briefing over Israel's assault on Gaza, the first time the two have met for the customary meeting between a prime minister and opposition leader.

Netanyahu said after the meeting that he "fully supports" the government and security forces, urging southern Israeli residents to continue to follow the Home Front Command's directives. He added that he offered advice during the meeting about handling the current conflict.

Since the new government took office, Netanyahu had snubbed Lapid's offer, and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's before that, to return to customary personal security briefings between the prime minister and opposition leader. During Bennett's tenure, Netanyahu refused to meet the then-prime minister for over a year.

However, Knesset law states that the prime minister must invite the leader of the opposition and provide him with current information on state affairs "as needed, and no less than once a month." Netanyahu gave up on the offers to meet with the prime ministers themselves, and received updates from military secretaries Avi Gil and Avi Belot instead. Recently, he also avoided meeting with Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who requested to consult with him regarding the selection of Israel's next Chief of Staff.

When Lapid took office at the beginning of last month, Netanyahu called Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Friday wishing the new premier that his tenure will be "quiet."

"I want to wish you and all of us that the next four months will be a period of quiet on the security front," Netanyahu told Lapid on a phone call.

Lapid then suggested to Netanyahu that the Prime Minister's personal security briefings with the leader of the opposition be renewed. Netanyahu refused and suggested that the security update be carried out through the military secretary, so that it does not become a "political tool."

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