Who is Yair Lapid appointing to Israel's Prime Minister's Office?

Here are some of Lapid’s top appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office – most of whom, notably, are women.

 WILL HE be smiling after the election? Yair Lapid this week at the Knesset.  (photo credit: AMIR LEVY)
WILL HE be smiling after the election? Yair Lapid this week at the Knesset.
(photo credit: AMIR LEVY)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid has been waiting a long time for those words to be said together, predicting upon his entrance to the Knesset almost a decade ago that he would make it to the premiership.

Playing the long game meant that Lapid was well-prepared for this moment, especially in terms of staff. There are not many MKs who have an experienced foreign policy adviser – Yair Zivan – for years while not having any official title beyond lawmaker, to give one example.

Lapid also has been able to retain the same close advisers for much of his time in office, an accomplishment that is rare in the Knesset, where the pay for aides is not great, the hours are worse, and the egos are even worse than that. While former prime minister Naftali Bennett’s office was plagued with infighting – more of which came out in a juicy interview former diplomatic adviser Shimrit Meir granted to Yediot Aharonot last week – the longtime coworkers for Lapid are known to be a team. Every staff has its internal politics, but little to none of it has leaked out of Lapid’s inner circle over the years.

 YAIR ZIVAN (far left), a long time Lapid adviser (credit: Courtesy) YAIR ZIVAN (far left), a long time Lapid adviser (credit: Courtesy)

Here are some of Lapid’s top appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office – most of whom, notably, are women:

Director-General Naama Schultz 

Schultz, the first woman in the job, has been a political adviser to Lapid for years. She recently became known for putting out political fires in the coalition, serving as Lapid’s negotiator with Ra’am and Meretz MK Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi.

Chief of Staff Dani Vesely

Vesely and Lapid have worked together since the former produced the latter’s talk show, and he was one of the major shapers of Yesh Atid as a nascent party. Vesely was Lapid’s chief of staff in the finance ministry, as well

Diplomatic Adviser Yair Zivan

Zivan began advising Lapid in 2014, after two years as then-president Shimon Peres's spokesman in English. For five years in the Knesset, Zivan was the architect of Lapid's pivot to international statesmanship, getting him meetings with leaders visiting Israel and planning his trips abroad to meet with lawmakers in Europe and the US. Zivan continued to advise Lapid on international affairs when he was foreign minister, including repairing the bipartisan US relationship, the dialogue with the US and EU on Iran talks, the landmark Negev Summit with foreign ministers from four Arab states and more.

Director of Communications Yael Bar, Spokesperson Roei Konkol

Known for his writing and speaking skill as a journalist, author and television host, Lapid is someone with high standards for his communications staff. Bar and Konkol have worked with Lapid for years, including at the Foreign Ministry from 2021-2022.

Senior Adviser Tami Nassee

Nassee is another former producer of Lapid’s eponymous talk show.

Other staff

Other senior staff to the new prime minister include Senior Special Adviser Gili Haushner, Director of Government-Knesset Relations Dana Pitelis Kaduri, Head of the Digital Department Noy Alroy Schnitzer and Head of Bureau Heli Sinai.

Lapid kept most of Bennett’s professional appointments in place, such as Cabinet Secretary Shalom Shlomo, Military Secretary Maj.-Gen. Avi Gil, National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata and International Spokeswoman Keren Hajioff.

However, he replaced National Public Diplomacy Directorate Head Elad Tene with Lior Haiat, the Foreign Ministry spokesman and former consul-general to Miami. Emmanuel Nahshon will return to the position of Foreign Ministry spokesman, as well as head of public diplomacy, after serving as ambassador to Belgium.