”I spoke last night with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and exchanged messages with my friend, President Macron of France. We all think that it’s time to change, to improve, to deepen the dialogue between Israel and Europe,” said Yair Lapid in a hand-over ceremony speech at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs.
EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said on Twitter that he spoke with Yair Lapid to ‘’warmly congratulated’’ him for his appointment as new Israeli alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.
“Discussed the importance of strengthening the bilateral partnership & promoting security & peace in the region. Looking forward to working together & welcoming you soon in Brussels,’’ Borrell added in his tweet.
In a speech at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs in Jerusalem on the occasion of the hand-over ceremony on Monday, Lapid referred to his conversation with Borrell and with French President Emmanuel Macron.
”I spoke last night with the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and exchanged messages with my friend, President Macron of France. We all think that it’s time to change, to improve, to deepen the dialogue between Israel and Europe,” he said.
He noted that with the countries of the European Union ”our situation is not good enough.” ”Our relationship with too many governments has been neglected and become hostile. Shouting that everyone is antisemitic isn’t a policy or a work plan, even if it sometimes feels righ,” Lapid, who succeeds Gabi Ashkenazi as Foreign Minister in the government led by Naftali Bennet, said.
Lapid, who is also Alternate Prime Minister, also said in his speech to the foreign ministry staff that Israel will work relentlessly to ensure Iran’s nuclear ambitions are frustrated.
Lapid said he had voiced these concerns in his conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken just hours after being sworn in, as well as with French President Emmanuel Macron.
“We have to work together as we face a new Iran deal. This is a bad deal and we are going to work with the Prime Minister. Israel will use every option at its disposal in order to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon,” he said.
He blamed the previous government for “neglecting” the ministry, which he said had hurt Israel’s image abroad.
“I warned this could happen but the previous government made a bad gamble and it focused on the Republicans. They are important to us, but not just them,” he said.
He vowed to continue with the peace process started by Netanyahu and the previous U.S. administration, which led to four peace deals with Arab countries, known collectively as the Abraham Accords.
“We will sign more agreements with additional countries. The Palestinian arena will define to a large extent what the other theaters will look like, and we have a lot to do to improve the living conditions of the Palestinians and to improve the dialogue.”
He said that regarding Hamas, “The world does not always understand what we have to deal with; we have to make clear to the world that we face a terrorist organization that does not shy away from firing on children and schools. This government will retaliate without any hesitation.”