Lapid vows equality for all Jewish streams in Israel

February 12, 2013 22:55

Yesh Atid Leader says interim Palestinian entity needs to be established as mandated by Phase II of the Road Map, says Olmert went to far.

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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid addresses Conference of Presidents, Feb 12

Yair Lapid 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told a gathering of US Jewish leaders on Tuesday night that he would make sure all Jewish denominations in Israel will be placed on an equal legal footing, and vowed to institute civil marriage.

Speaking in Jerusalem to the annual mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, he declared, “I will do everything in my power to ensure the equality of all streams of Judaism in Israel, in terms of conversion, marriage, funding and in the eyes of the law.”

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He added that he would “ensure that there will be civil marriage here, too.”

The haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties are completely opposed to these policies.

During the election campaign, Shas ran a controversial advertisement scorning the state conversion program and what it described as “Jewish conversions by fax.”

Lapid also addressed the conflict with the Palestinians, saying both parties needed to return to the negotiating table and implement the second stage of the 2003 Road Map for Peace, which requires the establishment of a non-sovereign interim entity for the Palestinians within provisional borders.

The Yesh Atid leader noted that there were de facto preconditions for resuming negotiations. He pointed to the terms of the road map, which he said neither Israel nor the Palestinians had satisfactorily fulfilled.

However, he said he believed former prime minister Ehud Olmert had “gone too far” in his offer to the Palestinian leadership at the end of the 2008 Annapolis process, and that he was opposed to the division of Jerusalem.

“We have to jumpstart the peace process,” he said. “The two-state solution is the only plan on the table. Without it, we will not be living in a Jewish state, and I want to live in a Jewish state, so we have to separate from the Palestinians.”

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