(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid said Wednesday night he was running for prime minister, and that Benjamin Netanyahu would not form the next government.
“He made a mistake and the price of this mistake is that he won’t be the prime minister,” Lapid said at a press conference in Tel Aviv, referring to Netanyahu’s decision to dissolve the coalition.
Lapid, who spent most of the speech directly addressing the current premier, accused him of launching “unnecessary” early elections out of his own self-interest and against the will of the Israeli public.
“Why? Because you are disconnected.
You have no idea what it does to the citizens of Israel because you live in your aquarium and for a long time now you don’t know who the people are and what really troubles them,” Lapid said.
By calling for early elections and thus blocking passage of the 2015 budget and all its attendant policies, Lapid said Netanyahu prevented increased defense, education and health spending; blocked an agreement on the public sector minimum wage; and stopped housing plans from moving forward.
He also disparaged Netanyahu’s tenure in office, saying he had walked away from a diplomatic initiative that would have demilitarized Gaza during the summer war and constantly alienated the United States, Israel’s most important ally, “Our relations with the US are our greatest security interest. Try and explain to them that you are so disconnected that you believe the US is still living in the eighties. You used to understand America but America changed and you’re disconnected,” Lapid said.
Finally, Lapid denied that he and outgoing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni attempted to overthrow Netanyahu in a political “putsch,” as the prime minister asserted in a press conference on Tuesday.
“I tried to overthrow you? Do you hear yourself? Who sold you that absurdity? And what caused you listen to it?” Lapid promised voters that he would pick up where he left off on his policy agenda following the elections, which are scheduled for March 17.