English speakers in a speech in their language at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum, September 6, 2017..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid told an audience of some 400 English speakers in a speech in their language at Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum on Wednesday night that he will run in the next general election on an agenda that includes fighting against political corruption.
Speaking amid reports of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal investigations gathering steam, Lapid vowed to limit prime ministers to two terms and to change the electoral system to enable a government to last for four years. He said Israel’s government and electoral system were both corrupt and dysfunctional.
“We have the right to tell our government, if you are only preoccupied with yourselves, we can replace you with people who will be preoccupied with us,” Lapid said. “That is the beauty of democracy.”
In rare praise for a Likudnik, Lapid said Transportation Minister Israel Katz, who has held his portfolio for eight years, was Israel’s most successful minister, because he was able to get more accomplished. Lapid received applause when he told the crowd of his bill that would forbid those convicted of a crime from ever being a minister, MK or mayor.
Responding to a question from an American immigrant, Lapid said he did not envy the US political system.
“I’m holding 20 jokes about the success of the American election,” Lapid said. “They made the rest of the world feel really great about themselves. I don’t think a presidential system is suitable for Israel. We are just too small.”
Lapid explained his party’s seven-point plan for dealing with key issues: Security, the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, the balance between Judaism and democracy, governance, law enforcement, the economy, and education.
Regarding the Palestinians, he said Israel must negotiate separation from them, because he did not want to live with them. He received applause for saying countries do not divide their capital.
“We need to get rid of the Western idea that every problem has a solution,” Lapid said.
“There should be a partial solution with benchmarks in which the other side has to prove itself to us. We will be careful, and there will be a learning curve.”
When he was asked about applying Israeli sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, he said it was a terrible idea, because he did not want there to be an Arab party with 40 Knesset seats that would vote for Israel to stop being a Jewish state.
Lapid spoke about learning from the experience as an immigrant of his father, late justice minister Yosef “Tommy” Lapid. He told the varied audience of religious and secular and young and old Jerusalemites that he had been meaning to hold such an event with immigrants from English speaking countries for a long time.
“This gathering is one of people who don’t take the country for granted, and we are thankful to you,” he said.