JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir began his first full day in office Tuesday by toasting his political archrival, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, with cognac and then visiting a Jewish community in the occupied West Bank.
The exchange of toasts came a day after Shamir and Peres swapped leadership posts under the first government power-sharing agreement in Israel's history. Raising his glass, Shamir called the agreement "an experiment that has had no precedent in Israel and almost nowhere else in the world."
The change in power went smoothly Monday, with the Knesset approving Shamir's new government by a 4-to-1 margin.
Visit to Settlement
Shamir, a hard-line conservative who has vowed to continue building Jewish settlements in Israeli-occupied Arab territory, spoke later Tuesday to political supporters and visited the Jewish settlement of Kochav Yair northeast of Tel Aviv and just beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders.
His visit underscored what is likely to be one of the most controversial of his government's policies. Shamir and his right-wing Likud Bloc see the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an inseparable part of Israel and support Jewish settlement in the war-won territories where 60,000 Jewish settlers live among 1.3 million Palestinians.