Yair Lapid speaks at JPost Diplomatic Conference.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid convened his faction, which shrunk from 19 MKs to 11 in the election, on Tuesday, pledging to serve as a fighting opposition to the government being formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu but to support it on key security issues like Iran.
Lapid said he would submit a series of anti-corruption bills, starting with one that would prevent criminals convicted of crimes deemed as bearing moral turpitude from serving as a government minister, Knesset member or mayor.
“It is not a bill against [Shas chairman] Arye Deri,” Lapid said. “It also applies to [former prime minister] Ehud Olmert, to [former finance minister Avraham] Hirchson, to [former president Moshe] Katsav and any other public figure who strayed off the path. We need to rebuild the public’s faith in the political system and to clean out the corruption. This law is the first step.”
Lapid said the divisive election should be followed up by creating “an Israeli contract” that would encourage dialogue, moderation, listening, and accepting other views.
Even though Yesh Atid’s former MKs were missing, the election proved that the party would remain a central force in Israeli politics and society, he said.
“Yesh Atid won’t be able to sit in a government that is already transferring the money that belongs to the middle class, the money that the middle class worked hard for, to interest groups, political parties, and people who don’t want to work instead of to healthcare, education and welfare,” Lapid said. “We can’t sit in a government that is already promising to cancel the national equal burden [of service] and to cancel the limitation of the government to 18 ministers.”
Lapid called on Kulanu chairman Moshe Kahlon, the likely be finance minister, to prevent that limitation from being canceled.
“It’s in your hands,” he said.
“If you demand it, they won’t be able to do it. You need to say to them, ‘We’re talking about hundreds of millions of shekels, money that I need for the social aims for which I was elected, not for jobs and not for political patronage positions.’” Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh told the press at his faction meeting that the four parties that make up the list would remain united. He said he was proud they made history by becoming the Knesset’s third largest faction (with 13 seats).
“We have to have influence to counter the dangerous, narrow right-wing government being formed, which will continue the occupation and pass racist laws,” Odeh said. “We are looking for partners. Whoever wants to join us on the path to peace, equality, democracy and social justice is invited.”Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.