Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid posted on his Facebook on Saturday afternoon
that he will not be joining any united Center-Left bloc with Labor and
the Tzipi Livni Party in the run up to the January 22 elections.
Giving his reasons for his refusal, he said he does "not tend to boycott people and parties."
said that during his scheduled meeting with Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich and
Tzipi Livni Party leader Tzipi Livni, he will suggest that "in the likely event that (Prime
Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu forms the next government, we should join
it together so it will not be a government composed of haredim and
The refusal follows his announcement
earlier on Saturday that he would meet with Yacimovich and Livni to
discuss efforts to create a "united front" to displace Netanyahu. However, a time and date for a meeting between the
three leaders has yet to be set.
At a cultural event hosted in
Kiryat Bialik, Lapid downplayed the proposed meetings, coyly responding
to questions over his Friday night phone-call with Livni and the
decision to meet with her and Yacimovich, saying
that the party leaders would meet in any case.
"Of course I will
grant Livni and Yachimovich's request to meet. I meet with every element
in the political establishment who wishes to discuss matters with me.
This week I had coffee and a long conversation with Shelly Yachimovich.
There is no big drama here. The political system is built in a way that
its leaders meet all the time," Lapid said.
Lapid added that he
did not enjoy publicized announcements, stating: "I don’t like it when
people act out of pressure, and it seemed odd to me that the meeting was
announced on television with a dramatic statement," he said.
spite of this, the Tzipi Livni Party hailed the move in a statement
following Lapid's announcement, with Livni noting that with a united
front against the prime minister, there is a "real opportunity to make a
The Netanyahu government was unfazed by Livni's initiative.
"I wish that the other side, to the left, would coalesce,
because that would hone the differences between us," Vice Prime
Minister Moshe Yaalon of the ruling Likud said in a speech.
an apparent dig at Lapid and Yachimovich, Yaalon rued "the immodesty
and immaturity in the desire of certain people to jump straight into the
cold water of being prime minister, without passing through any
stations along the way."
Earlier on Saturday, Livni told a
cultural forum in Tel Aviv that "anyone who understands the gravity of
the [current] situation should rally around the initiative."
people see me, Shelly, Yair and [Kadima leader Shaul] Mofaz and anyone
else who understands that these are troubled times united around the
goal of replacing Netanyahu -- all of those who have given up will go
out and vote," she said.
Yachimovich also addressed a cultural
forum in Tel Aviv on Saturday to say Labor will not be joining a
"Replacing Netanyahu is a
possibility, particularly in light of the fact that Likud-Beiteinu is
very weak," she said, adding that Labor "refuses to surrender to
defeatism." Yachimovich said this week
she intended either to be
the next prime minister or to sit in opposition, and that Labor would
not join a Netanyahu-led government.