Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin NetanyahuYonatan Sindel/FLASH90

The 37th government of the State of Israel, the sixth led by Benjamin Netanyahu, was officially sworn-in in the Knesset plenum on Thursday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first to take the oath of office. Most of the heads of the opposition parties were present out of respect for the ceremony, but opposition leader Yair Lapid left the plenary hall even before Netanyahu was sworn-in without shaking his hand as is customary.

When National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir was sworn-in, Labor MK Gilad Kariv, a Reform rabbi, shouted: "Shame: an idol is in the temple!"

The government will have 30 ministers and 5 deputy ministers - two more ministers than the outgoing government led by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid.

A meeting between outgoing Prime Minister Lapid and Netanyahu is expected to take place after the swearing-in ceremony is completed.

Likud MK Amir Ohana was elected to the position of Speaker of the Knesset prior to the swearing-in ceremony, receiving the support of 63 MKs compared to five who voted against him and one who abstained. Ohana is the first openly gay Speaker of the Knesset in Israel's history.

Netanyahu said upon being sworn-in as Prime Minister once again: "This new government is determined to restore governance, peace, and personal security to the citizens of Israel."

"I hear the opposition's constant laments about 'the end of the state' and even 'the end of democracy.' Members of the opposition, losing the elections is not the end of democracy - it is the essence of democracy.'

"A democratic regime is tested first of all by the willingness of the losing side to accept the majority's decision," Netanyahu continued. "In an orderly democracy, the rules of the game are respected. We saw it just now in a different context, in the World Cup final, when French fans were disappointed like you, but they accepted the result. They even applauded the Argentina team. I know you won't applaud, but I do expect you to respect the voters' decision and cease rebelling against the elected government.''

Netanyahu then added, "In a democracy, you don't climb the Capitol fences and you don't climb the Knesset fences." As he spoke, a massive police presence was deployed around the Knesset building, to restrain hundreds of left-wing activists who had congregated to protest the incoming government.

"This is the sixth time that I present a government under my leadership," Netanyahu said. "I'm as overwhelmed as the first time. I want to take this opportunity to thank my dear and beloved family, my wife Sara who is here today and is always by my side, my sons Yair and Avner, who always stand by me."

Netanyahu then donned a yarmulka and recited the Shecheyanu blessing: "Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the world, that we have lived and survived and reached this time."

Following Netanyahu's speech, outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid summarized his government's activities. "With great unease we are handing the country over to the elected government. We deliver you a state in excellent condition, with a strong economy, with improved security capabilities and a powerful deterrent force, with our international status at the highest it has ever been. Try not to destroy it, we'll be back soon.''