L-R Dov Lipman, Jay Shultz President of Tel Aviv Internationals, Ruth Calderon, Yair Lapid..
(photo credit: DEBORAH DANAN)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid warned voters Sunday that, if reelected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would cancel legislation his party passed that encourages haredi conscription into the IDF and entrance into the workforce.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 1,000 young immigrants from English-speaking countries at an event organized by the Tel Aviv International Salon, Lapid said Netanyahu also would cancel other Yesh Atid initiatives such as limiting the number of ministers, extending daylight-saving time and funds for students.
“He will take money away from students and the middle class and give it to remote settlements,” Lapid warned.
By contrast, he said, if Yesh Atid is allowed to remain the largest faction in the Knesset, reforms started in the ministries the party controlled would be able to come to fruition.
“Everything is ready for after the election,” Lapid said.
“If we are given the car keys, we are ready to drive. We can start within a day. It’s doable, it’s workable. This started as the most unnecessary election of all time, but now it’s become crucial because we can bring real change.”
When told that he promised change when he spoke to the same group ahead of last year’s election, he said Holocaust survivors and others Yesh Atid has helped would say he has made dramatic changes.
Lapid indicated that he would decide Yesh Atid’s candidate list just ahead of the January 29 deadline, when asked whether American- born MK Dov Lipman would be given a realistic slot on the party’s list.
“We haven’t dealt with that yet because we want our family to get along,” he said.
Channel 10 reported Sunday night that former welfare minister Moshe Kahlon’s Koolanu party also would reveal its candidates at the last minute. A source in the party denied the report.
The possible delay in Yesh Atid and Koolanu revealing their lists raised speculation that they could decide at the last moment to run together.
Polls have indicated that a joint list could become the largest Knesset faction, especially if the list is led by Kahlon.
“I don’t care about combinations,” Lapid said. “If the best way for me to help the country is to not be No. 1 in Yesh Atid but to be No. 46 in Shas, I’ll be No. 46 in Shas.”
He also joked that he does not need to remain in politics.
“Being on TV was fun,” he said. “I made a lot of money and nobody fired me.”
Lapid suggested that Netanyahu fired him because he succeeded, saying the same happened to Kahlon and former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar.
The event was part of a series of events with politicians hosted by the salon, a nonpartisan organization that bills itself as the largest English-language speakers forum in Israel.