Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid votes, March 17, 2015.
(photo credit: PR)
Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid called on Sunday night for a two-term limit for prime ministers and said that if elected to serve in the position he would pass legislation to this effect.
Lapid was speaking at a Yesh Atid event for party activists in Rishon Lezion where he set out a seven-point plan to revitalize the country which he said is being slowed down and hampered by a dysfunctional political system.
Among his other proposals was a regional summit with neighboring Arab countries to promote the rehabilitation of Gaza in return for the territory’s disarmament; a “divorce” from the Palestinians via the means of a demilitarized Palestinian state; and the investment of royalties from Israel’s off-shore gas fields into science and education.
Speaking at the event, Lapid struck an overtly optimistic and patriotic tone, describing the IDF as the “best and most moral army in the world,” an “exciting economy,” and a “cultural and societal wealth” in terms of human resources.
Lapid decried, however, a political system which he said does not deal with national problems at hand, citing the combustible ammonia tank in Haifa and the recent transportation debacle as examples.
In particular, he criticized what he described as a lack of a vision for the future of the state which he said was absent due to “a government that is busy only with itself,” calling out in particular the prime minister as well as other ministers and MKs who “deal with political games instead of security, education, health and the economy.”
Although Lapid did not spell out comprehensive electoral reform as a remedy to political paralysis, he proposed a system whereby an elected government would get to serve out a full four-year term and in which the first law he would pass would be limiting a prime minister to two terms in office.
A bill proposing a two-term limit was introduced to the Knesset by Zionist Union MK Merav Michaeli during the summer Knesset session, and Lapid said that such a law would be the first piece of legislation he would pass as prime minister.
In addition, the Yesh Atid leader once again touted legislation to prohibit anyone convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude from holding state office, as well as legally banning the institution of minister-without- portfolio.
With regard to the conflict with the Palestinians, Lapid repeated Yesh Atid’s commitment to a two-state solution, but underlined the importance of any Palestinian state being demilitarized: “strict protection of security arrangements, freedom of action for the IDF in every place.” He also called for the retention by Israel of settlement blocks, a rejection of a “right of return” for Palestinians, and the indivisibility of Jerusalem.
“Israel is an unmanaged body today... The old politics that sits in government doesn’t want to run it and cannot run it, because it is dealing with cronyism and political games,” concluded Lapid.
“The time has come that we face up to this without blinking. We are here because we are willing and able to lead and direct the State of Israel.”
Yesh Atid has been buoyed in recent weeks by several favorable polls, with a Channel 1 poll by the Geocartography Institute published last week giving Yesh Atid 27 seats and Likud at 23, while a Channel 2 poll conducted by Midgam and published on September 6 putting Yesh Atid at 24 seats and the Likud at 22.
At the same time, support for Zionist Union has collapsed, with the party down to 11 seats and 13 seats respectively in the Geocartography and Midgam polls.
A Panels poll for the Knesset Channel broadcast on September 12 asked people why they thought Yesh Atid is surging in the polls, with 62% of respondents saying the reason is a protest vote against Netanyahu.