In official 'changing-of-the-guard' ceremonies, Israel's new ministers were inaugurated on Tuesday, a day after the new government was sworn in.

Newcomer and Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid took the place of Yuval Steinitz as Finance Minister, while former vice premier Silvan Shalom replaced Uzi Landau as Minister of Energy and Water. Landau himself has taken over at the Tourism Ministry. Former Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar moved into the Interior Ministry, replacing Eli Yishai, whose Shas party joined the ranks of the opposition.

Sa'ar said that he will initiate reforms in the Interior Ministry as he did in his previous post, Army Radio reported.



Incoming Education Minister Shai Piron said there is "no role more important than to be an educator," Army Radio reported.

At a formal changing of the guard ceremony, Piron thanked outgoing Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar, applauding him for his "exceptional achievements."

Meanwhile, incoming Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday during a special ceremony with her predecessor Yaakov Neeman of Likud that she regards the peace process as the representation of the struggle for an Israel that is a Jewish and democratic state.

At the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, outgoing defense minister Ehud Barak, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and other senior officials attended a ceremony Tuesday morning to mark the start of Moshe Ya'alon's term as defense minister. Barak, who served as defense minister for the last six years, announced his retirement from politics last year.

Barak had high praise for Ya'alon at the ceremony, citing his "deep understanding of the political realm" and his vast experience in the IDF. Ya'alon, 62, was IDF chief of staff from 2002-2005, and served in the military for 37 years.

"I will bring the best of my experience and values to this job, and I am determined to lead the IDF and defense branches to new heights, with responsibility and good judgment, in order to face the challenges of the future," he said Sunday after he was tapped for the post, thanking the prime minister for appointing him.

In another Defense Ministry switch, a ceremony was to take place between Home Front Defense ministers, with Avi Dichter passing the baton to Gilad Erdan of Likud.

Other ceremonies were expected to continue throughout the day.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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