YAIR LAPID: This government’s moves with the Russians have failed miserably.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
US Vice President Mike Pence’s views on gays, abortion, and women serving in the military are unacceptable to us, the heads of Yesh Atid and the Zionist Union said on Monday, in moments of candor that were otherwise devoted to showering Pence with praise.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid and Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay both began their weekly faction meetings by welcoming Pence and extolling the virtues of his support for Israel. But when they were asked about Pence’s views on issues unrelated to Israel, they changed their tune.
“We don’t choose the American leadership,” Lapid told The Jerusalem Post
. “I don’t agree with Pence on those three issues, but I don’t only meet people I agree with. Pence is still a friend of Israel, and we have to sit and be grateful for his friendship.”
Lapid responded to a statement by Zehorit Sorek, a Yesh Atid candidate in the 2015 Knesset election and a lesbian. Sorek said that had she made it into the Knesset, she would have stood up in defiance during the address.
When asked the same question about Pence’s views on gays, abortion, and women serving in the military, Gabbay told the Post
: “Those aren’t the views of Labor and the Zionist Union, but we meet people with different views.”
Gabbay said he was not bothered that Pence did not make time to meet with him, saying, “There is no protocol, so there is no meeting.” But Lapid appeared to scold the vice president’s schedule in English at his faction meeting.
“He should know that not only the government is grateful for his friendship and delighted to welcome him here, but also the opposition,” Lapid said.
In his speech to the Knesset alongside Pence, opposition leader Isaac Herzog lectured him about the role of the opposition leader, which he said does not exist in America’s political system.
“You are not familiar with the role of the head of the opposition,” Herzog said. “The closest you have is the minority leader. The opposition here represents four factions. The Arabs are an important and inseparable part of Israeli society.”
Zionist Union MK Tzipi Livni, who often meets foreign dignitaries but was also snubbed by Pence, tweeted in English: “Most important is the vision of a secure Jewish democratic state in the Land of Israel...”