Yair Lapid 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid told a gathering of US Jewish leaders on Tuesday
night that he would make sure all Jewish denominations in Israel will be placed
on an equal legal footing, and vowed to institute civil
Speaking in Jerusalem to the annual mission of the Conference
of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, he declared, “I will do
everything in my power to ensure the equality of all streams of Judaism in
Israel, in terms of conversion, marriage, funding and in the eyes of the
He added that he would “ensure that there will be civil marriage
The haredi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties are
completely opposed to these policies.
During the election campaign, Shas
ran a controversial advertisement scorning the state conversion program and what
it described as “Jewish conversions by fax.”
Lapid also addressed the
conflict with the Palestinians, saying both parties needed to return to the
negotiating table and implement the second stage of the 2003 Road Map for Peace,
which requires the establishment of a non-sovereign interim entity for the
Palestinians within provisional borders.
The Yesh Atid leader noted that
there were de facto preconditions for resuming negotiations. He pointed to the
terms of the road map, which he said neither Israel nor the Palestinians had
However, he said he believed former prime
minister Ehud Olmert had “gone too far” in his offer to the Palestinian
leadership at the end of the 2008 Annapolis process, and that he was opposed to
the division of Jerusalem.
“We have to jumpstart the peace process,” he
said. “The two-state solution is the only plan on the table. Without it, we will
not be living in a Jewish state, and I want to live in a Jewish state, so we
have to separate from the Palestinians.”