Lapid slams Netanyahu for standing on sidelines while rest of Israel is 'stuck'

Finance minister says US-Israel relations at an all-time low.

November 29, 2014 16:32
1 minute read.
Netanyahu and Lapid

Netanyahu and Lapid. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Finance Minister Yair Lapid slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday for standing on the sidelines while the rest of Israel remains "stuck."

Outlining what seemed to be a list of Netanyahu's failures – from housing market prices to the budget to "declining" international relations – Lapid said that rather than dealing with "these problems," Netanyahu is busy dealing with minor politics.

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Speaking at a cultural event in Tel Aviv, the finance minister criticized Netanyahu for focusing on issues such as the outcome of future elections and the possible makeup of the next coalition.

Lapid's remarks came as the coalition was facing a crisis that threatened to send the government into early elections.

He said a solution to the troubled state of things required "handling what's important rather than" being involved in politics.

Israel does not need elections right now, he said.

In regard to the controversial "Jewish state bill," Lapid said that while he is in favor of legislation he was against the current version recently approved by cabinet, which he indicated was meant for Netanyahu's own political gain.

Israel wants to cement its Jewish nature in law, a move that has sparked widespread debate and controversy among the shaky coalition.

Netanyahu has vowed that the bill will preserve the rights of all the citizens of Israel, while critics argue that it will harm the rights of the country's minorities, including its Arab citizens who make up nearly 20 percent of the population.

As for relations with the US, Lapid said Israel was at an all-time low.

"No one knows what they [Washington] will do when Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] goes to the [UN] Security Council," said Lapid, adding that the United States' veto power was "no longer guaranteed."

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