Yair Lapid 2019 elections campaign launch..
(photo credit: ADI COHEN ZEDEK)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid reacted for the first time to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attacks on the legal establishment in the prime minister’s televised address on Monday night by telling supporters at Yesh Atid’s campaign launching event that Netanyahu had become “hysterical.”
Lapid mocked Netanyahu for having his spokesman announce three hours ahead of the address that the prime minister would deliver a dramatic speech.
“We got the final proof that someone suspected of serious crimes cannot be prime minister,” Lapid told a packed crowd of several hundred people in Rishon Lezion. “It wasn’t a dramatic announcement, it was a hysterical announcement. I’ve known Bibi for years, he’s cracking under the pressure. A country with complex challenges cannot afford a Prime Minister with frayed nerves.”
Lapid said that Netanyahu “attacked the rule of law live on television like a common criminal.” He vowed that Yesh Atid would not let him “drag the country down with him” as his criminal probes progress.
“There is a country to think about Mr. Netanyahu,” he said. “This country is bigger than you and it’s more important than you.”
In a message to potential voters of former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Hosen L’Israel (Israel Resilience) Party, Lapid said that Yesh Atid is the only party capable of presenting a serious challenge to the Likud, because it has 140 branches, 15,000 activists and hundreds of thousands of supporters.
“Around us parties are falling apart and collapsing,” he said. “We are a party that was built to be a party of the government from day one.”
A Midgam poll broadcast on Tuesday night on Channel 10 found that the gap between Netanyahu and Gantz over who is most fit to be prime minister is closer than it has been with any competitor to Netanyahu in a decade. The poll of 694 respondents represented a statistical sample of the Israeli population and found that 41% found Netanyahu most fit, 38% Gantz and 24% did not know.
When Netanyahu was pitted against Lapid, 45% said Netanyahu was most fit to be leader, 29% Lapid and 26% did not know. A poll by the same company a week ago found 38% said Netanyahu, 17% Lapid, 37% neither and 8% did not know.
In an effort to boost his Telem party’s performance in the polls, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon offered a slot on his list to Likud MK Bennie Begin, but he turned it down. Ethiopian activist Gadi Yevarkan will be running with the party instead.
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