Finance Minister Yair Lapid..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid said Saturday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has lost touch with reality" and should no longer serve as Israel's premier.
"He [Netanyahu] has lost all connection to the reality of the concerns of Israel's citizens - with their daily lives and difficulties," Lapid said at a cultural event in Netanya.
During his year-and-eight-month tenure as former finance minister, Lapid said he witnessed the prime minister primarily focus on maintaining his position while he "increasingly lost interest in leading the country."
Lapid indicated that he was more in tune with the concerns of the Israeli public, noting that his experience with the finance portfolio allowed him to direct understanding of the economic landscape of the country.
Lapid - who was fired by Netanyahu
in December for his outspoken criticism of the prime minister and the government - also lambasted the premier over his controversial address to the US Congress scheduled for two weeks before Israel's March 17 election.
"This speech causes real damage, not only to relations between Israel and the US, but to the justified struggle Israel has waged for years against the Iranian nuclear problem," Lapid charged.
Netanyahu was invited by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) to address
a special joint session of Congress and is expected to advocate for a different policy on Iran that US President Barack Obama has pursued.
The prime minister has been criticized for accepting the invitation to speak and breaching the protocol of the White House extending invitations to foreign leaders. Netanyahu has also been accused of using the appearance to influence the Israeli electorate.
According to Lapid, the address has caused Israel to loose influence on American lawmakers who support new sanctions on Iran.
"Israel almost had the majority of two-thirds of the American Congress to thwart any veto by the president [Obama] against sanctions, and we lost most of that," Lapid stated.