The political alliance between Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid continued to unravel Sunday, when a report revealed that Bennett had referred to Lapid as a “dictator.”
Bennett made the statement at a political event in Petah Tikva on Thursday. Audio of his remarks was played on Army Radio Sunday morning.
“We are a diverse party with many viewpoints, not a dictatorship like Yesh Atid’s or [Avigdor] Liberman’s [Yisrael Beytenu],” Bennett is heard saying.
“[Yesh Atid] is an undemocratic party without primaries, and this is no secret.”
The relationship between Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and Religious Services Bennett and Finance Minister Lapid has been deteriorating in recent months amid disputes over the diplomatic process with the Palestinians and matters of religion and state.
They have also been increasingly critical of each other in private conversations. Thursday’s remarks were not intended to be revealed to the public.
Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman came out in defense of his party following news of Bennett’s remarks.
“I believe that no other party has the unity, discourse, and focus that Yesh Atid has displayed and will continue to display,” he said.
The US -born Lipman said that “it is the greatest honor to serve with such a wonderful group and such an open and fair chairman.”
In response to Bennett’s allegation that Yesh Atid doesn’t hold primaries, Lipman said the party constitution calls for primaries after the third elections so as to “prevent anyone from hijacking the agenda.”
Ariel Zilber contributed to this report.