Lapid vs. Gantz: Bloc can’t be led by hologram

“If you want to create real change in this country, you have to do it from the Prime Minister’s Office."

January 13, 2019 22:01
2 minute read.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid vowed on Sunday night to do everything possible to unite all centrist parties under his leadership ahead of the February 21 deadline for party lists to be submitted.

Speaking at a town hall meeting for some 500 English speakers in Tel Aviv, Lapid warned that if centrist parties do not unite for the April 9 election, “It’s going to be a disaster.” He said such mergers would not happen for a few more weeks.

“I am doing whatever I can to change this,” Lapid said. “In the last week or so, more people are looking at Yesh Atid and saying it’s a real thing, unlike holographic parties that you are not sure what they stand for. People realize the only party that can present a real fight for the Likud is one of substance. I don’t think we are going to hook up with the Left but there are enough parties in the Center to win an election. There is no alternative to a real party with boots on the ground.”

Asked if he would relinquish the top slot on a list in order to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said he would run for prime minister as the head of Yesh Atid.

“It’s not about being number one,” he said. “If you want to create real change in this country, you have to do it from the Prime Minister’s Office. With the real important issues unless you do it from the Prime Minister’s Office, you can’t have real change. It’s not about ego. It’s about how to create real change.”

Ha’aretz reported on Sunday that Lapid had stopped shifting his party to the Right and had intensified negotiations with Hatnua head Tzipi Livni.

Lapid warned that due to what he called “huge professional mistakes” made by Netanyahu, Israel had become no longer a bipartisan issue in the United States. He singled out Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress and Ambassador Ron Dermer joining billionaire Sheldon Adelson to screen Republican candidates for president.

He said “this polarization is disastrous” and that by rejecting the Western Wall deal, the Israeli government turned off American Jews who could have helped.

Regarding rocket fire from Gaza, Lapid said it was unacceptable that the homes of citizens of the South have been destroyed and the homes of the heads of Hamas still stand.

“The toughest army in the Middle East is being defeated by a third-rate terrorist organization,” he said. “We need to bring back deterrence.”

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