Yair Lapid speaks at a business conference in Eilat 390.
(photo credit: Ezra Levi)
Journalist turned politician, Yair Lapid, outlined the agenda he intends to
promote in his new political career at a conference of businessmen in Eilat on
In his first public speech since entering politics on January
8, Lapid vowed to represent ordinary middle-class secular Israelis in what he
described as a fight over the country’s future in which the enemies are corrupt
politicians, tycoons and haredim (ultra-Orthodox).
“Israeliness is under
attack, but we can still stand up and say this country is ours and we are
demanding it back,” Lapid said.
“The most terrific people in the world
live here. We have no spare country and I don’t intend to surrender it. Giving
up is not an option.”
Lapid outlined a four-step plan for “changing the
operating system of the country.” He called for changing the political system,
repealing laws that help the haredim avoid secular studies and army service,
fighting corruption, and encouraging economic growth.
His plan for
changing the political system includes granting the largest party the automatic
right to form a government, and raising both Israel’s 2 percent electoral
threshold and the number of MKs needed to overthrow a prime minister in a
no-confidence vote. He did not join a new trend of public figures calling for
enacting regional elections for half the Knesset.
“The current government
system encourages extortion,” Lapid said. “Politics is not supposed to be a
corrupt game of musical chairs.” In his attack on the haredim, Lapid said he
would work to cancel the Tal Law on army service for haredim, and the Nahari Law
that obligates local authorities to fund haredi schools in which the core
curriculum is not studied.
“We are being choked by entire sectors who do
not serve or work,” he said. “Fifty percent of first-graders are haredim or
Arabs. That means if we don’t do something, 12 years from now, they won’t be in
The Palestinians won’t need to do anything except make coffee,
light a cigarette and wait for the Zionist state to collapse.”
corruption of tycoons, Lapid said they had found ways to avoid paying some NIS
20 billion in taxes. He complained that while some European countries have 14 to
16 ministers, Israel, at the start of the current government, had 40 ministers
and deputy ministers.
He said the number of ministers and municipalities
in Israel both needed to be limited by law.
To stimulate economic growth,
Lapid called for steps to be taken to help small and midsized business owners,
who he said were the key to the success of Israel’s economy.
none of those steps could be taken unless a party is formed to push for those
He vowed to represent middleclass people who pay taxes, serve in
the IDF, obey laws, and pay 48% income tax.
“People have been asking me
why I need to do this,” Lapid said regarding his shift from Channel 2 anchorman
“But over the past month, I have been asking myself why I
didn’t do it sooner.”