Lapid vows to stymie Likud in next election, win 'war for Israel's soul'

Lapid mocked Netanyahu's promise at a Likud rally last week to win 40 seats for the ruling party.

September 4, 2018 20:02
3 minute read.
Lapid vows to stymie Likud in next election, win 'war for Israel's soul'

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast for his party's activists in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: ELAD GUTMAN)

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid promised to prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming the next government, in a speech to his party’s activists at a pre-Rosh Hashanah toast on Tuesday night at the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds.

Lapid said Netanyahu wins elections by getting Israelis to hate each other.

“Netanyahu is destroying the Israeli family,” Lapid said. “There is nothing he will not do in order to maintain power. He attacks the police, the courts, IDF officers, Yesh Atid, and everything that is good, fair and honest. This is the time to fight back. This is not just a struggle for the state of the country – it is a war for the soul. We will not let our family be harmed.”

Lapid mocked Netanyahu’s promise at a Likud rally last week to win 40 seats for the ruling party.

“Israel needs to change direction,” he said. “[We have] a prime minister who announced he has only one objective. What’s his objective? Not [eliminat - ing] social inequality, not the cost of living, not the rule of law. His only objective is 40 seats. You won’t have 40 seats Mr. Netanyahu, not even 30 seats – and I’m going to beat you in the upcoming elections: take hold of the steering wheel and of the leadership of the country.”

Lapid did not claim to know when the next election would take place like he has in the past. But he said the election campaign had already begun.

“We know what these elections will look like,” he said. “We know what we believe in, and we know what and who we’re going to be up against: People who will do anything, and already are. They lie, they smear, they disparage. We answer them from here: that’s why you’re going to lose and we’re going to win – because that isn’t Israel; That isn’t the Israeli people.”

Lapid struck back at both those who call him left-wing and those who say he has moved to the Right for populist reasons.

“The people of hate and incitement tell us that there are only two choices: You’re either left-wing or right- wing, a fascist or a traitor; either you think like me or you’re my enemy,” he said. “I look at you, [and] I don’t see only two options – I see a sea of choices.”

He reached out to Labor Party voters, who he said are embarrassed at their party’s smear campaign against him.

Making light of Netanyahu’s statement on Election Day in 2015 that “the Arabs [ aravim ] are heading to the polls in droves,” Lapid said, “In the next elections, the values [ arahim ] will be heading to the polls in droves!” – a play on the rhyming Hebrew words for values and Arabs.

Lapid accused Netanyahu of “turning the Prime Minister’s Office into a place full of corruption, where everyone puts his hand into the public coffers.” But he reached out to Likud voters, who he will have to woo in order to win the election.

“We are going to run against the Likud in these elections, but we don’t hate Likudniks,” he said. “They aren’t the enemy. I want to say to every Likud voter who won’t vote for me – first of all it’s a shame, I think you’re making a mistake. Secondly, I want you to know that if I win, I will be there for you as well. I’ll be your prime minister, too.”

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