Journalist turned politician Yair Lapid blamed the Palestinians for the failure to reach a breakthrough in the peace process in a speech on Monday at Tel Aviv University.
Lapid distanced himself from politicians on the Left who have blamed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the diplomatic stalemate.
“I don’t like the tendency to blame the Israeli side,” Lapid said. “Most of the blame belongs to the Palestinian side, and I am not sure that they as a people are ready to make peace with us.”
Lapid said it was wrong to enable extremists on the Left or Right to deliver what he called delusional solutions that would make Israel into a state of all of its citizens rather than a two-state solution that would keep Israel as a Jewish-democratic state. He warned that the extremists would bring about the end of the Zionist idea.
Regarding the situation in the South, he said he wanted to send a big hug to the Israelis under fire. He called the fight against territory absolutely necessary despite the price they were paying.
Lapid said he would include no current politicians on the list of his new party. A bill intended to harm Lapid’s new political career advanced Monday in the Knesset. It passed its first reading by a vote of 29 to 4.
The bill will now go to the Knesset House Committee, which is headed by Likud MK Yariv Levin, the bill’s sponsor. Levin said he intended to pass the bill into law before the Knesset begins its summer recess on March 21.
Called the Lapid Bill 2, it would require any person or group that declares “in writing or in speech, clearly or through behavior,” an intention to run for a Knesset seat without joining an existing party to follow campaign finance laws and report all donations and income.
The first so-called Lapid Bill, which was frozen after he announced he was running for the Knesset in January, would have required a cooling- off period for journalists before entering politics.
Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.