(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
It was a mistake to hold a press conference on Shabbat last month, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said on Sunday.
Lapid called a press conference ahead of a Yesh Atid faction meeting in which reporters came from all over the country. He spoke briefly and only about the budget, not about diplomatic issues or matters of religion and state, and he refused to take questions.
Following the meeting, MKs said he spoke exclusively about the budget in the meeting, too.
But MK Aliza Lavie said later that she had asked Lapid about his press conference on Shabbat two weeks ago and that he told her he regrets it.
“I made a mistake,” he said, according to Lavie. “I should not have made people work on Shabbat.”
Even though the apology came 15 days after the Shabbat press conference, MK Dov Lipman said Lapid’s statement to Lavie is proof that the religious and secular MKs in Yesh Atid work well together.
“It is easy to scream from the religious side and reach no mutual understanding,” Lipman said. “Because we work together and talk openly about all issues, there are channels of communication about all issues, and that generates more understanding and sensitivity.”
The Shabbat press conference was condemned by religious and secular MKs from across the political spectrum.
“Lapid’s disrespect for the basic Jewish values of the State of Israel, which sanctifies Saturday as its official day of rest, is unacceptable and stands out when he calls up media staff in the middle of the day of rest for non-urgent matters that could be postponed to another day,” Shas leader Arye Deri said.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On said Lapid chose to inconvenience the press on the weekend because he knew the Prime Minister’s Office could not respond on Shabbat and the finance minister would get half a day of headlines, “a media advantage in his idiotic battle with the prime minister on who is the ‘winner’ in the war on the terrible budget they’re preparing for us,” Gal-On wrote.
She said that Lapid’s press conference took a minute-and a-half, “but that certainly is enough to ruin the Saturday of photographers and reporters who had to go hear what the honorable finance minister had to say… [and] shows a lack of consideration [by Lapid] toward those reporters who had to hear what he said on Shabbat afternoon instead of playing with their children or just resting.”Lahav Harkov and Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.