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Photo by: Ezra Levi
Yair Lapid looks to the future with new Atid party
By GIL HOFFMAN
15/04/2012
Forming a new party will limit Lapid to fundraising no more than NIS 13.5 million ahead of the next election.
 
Yair Lapid intends to call his new party Atid, which means future in Hebrew, a spokeswoman for the new party said Sunday.

Lapid, the former TV journalist, intends to register the new party at the party registrar’s office over the next few days, submitting a list of its 100 founders. The list is expected to include people close to Lapid and not his future Knesset candidates.

Forming a new party will limit Lapid to fund-raising no more than NIS 13.5 million ahead of the next election.

Had he chosen to revamp a defunct existing party, he would not have faced such a limit.

“We could have run using the shell of an old party and made it easier financially, but he decided that if we are going to preach clean politics, we have to start with ourselves,” the spokeswoman said.

By forming the new party, Lapid preempted the so-called “Second Lapid Bill” that passed into law in the Knesset on March 21. The new law would have required him to report all campaign contributions of over NIS 10,000 to the comptroller within 30 days of the bill’s passage, had he not formed a party by then.

The bill’s sponsor, MK Yariv Levin (Likud) said that by forming a party, Lapid was “admitting that he failed in his goal of avoiding giving the public a report on his campaign fundraising.”

The first so-called “Lapid Bill,” which did not pass into law, would have set a cooling-off period before journalists could enter politics. Lapid preempted that bill when he announced that he was quitting his job at Channel 2 to run for the next Knesset.

This will not be the first Atid Party in Israel. In November 1995, MKs Alex Goldfarb and Esther Salmovitz broke off from a faction called Yiud, which broke off earlier from Tzomet.

The split from the right-wing Tzomet party enabled the Oslo II accords to pass. In a controversial move, Goldfarb received a post as deputy minister of Construction and Housing and a Mitsubishi in return for shifting from the Right end of the political map to the Left. Atid did not run in the 1996 election.

National Union MK Aryeh Eldad warned Lapid that if he does not offer more than “worn out cliches,” he would find himself “forgotten like Goldfarb, who sold his vote for a Mitsubishi and disappeared.”

Goldfarb, who is now in the Labor Party, told The Jerusalem Post that Lapid had not consulted with him about the name but that he had no problem with him using it.

“I wish Yair Lapid well,” Goldfarb said. “There is room for him in Israeli politics. We have to look to the future. We should not dwell on the past.”
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