Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid at the Knesset.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid used the platform of the annual Herzliya Conference on Wednesday to outline his plans for the country should he be elected the next prime minister of Israel.
The conference has been used by leaders in the past to unveil new policies, most notably in 2003 by then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, who announced at the event his plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the conference on Thursday.
“I am running for prime minister so Israel will return to be a country that inspires and overcomes challenges with accomplishments,” Lapid told the crowd.
“Israel for the past decade has no policies, just crises and responses.”
Lapid complained of a “leadership vacuum” that causes extremist discourse, and said Israelis want to feel that they are part of something big that will change the world.
His seven-point plan for Israel’s future includes an approach to security that is based not only on defense and fences but also offense, to keep conflicts away from Israel.
He said the IDF needed to do more to shorten battles and protect the home front.
“We need a fist that is active and can push away aggression, while maintaining the law and the international legitimacy of the State of Israel,” he said.
The second part of the plan calls for regional steps “to remove the Palestinians from our lives, and to create internationally recognized boundaries and a final State of Israel.”
He stressed that the best Israel could get from the Palestinians was a divorce, not a marriage.
Third, Lapid called for promoting strategic partnerships with key allies, particularly the United States, and for promoting dialogue with Russia, China, the European Union, and moderate Arab states.
He also stressed the need to strengthen relationships with Jewish communities in the Diaspora with dignity, respect and recognition of all streams of Judaism.
The fourth point of the plan is cleaning the political system. He said the practice of coalition parties allocating funds to each other needed to end, and reforms were needed to enable governments to last four years.
Lapid said Israel needed to invest in enhancing the law enforcement chain of command to create a system that is “efficient and unbiased.”
On socioeconomic issues, Lapid called for building economic growth based on exports to increase economic stability, and for bringing more haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and Arabs into the workforce.
The seventh and final point of the plan is investing more in education and science, in an effort to bridge the gap between the center of the country and the periphery.
“These points should be projected on the wall in every government office,” he said. “The entire public service must be on board with this vision.”