(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid promised a cease-fire in his turf war with new Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay over support from centrist and center-left Israelis.
Speaking to his Yesh Atid faction in the Knesset on Monday, Lapid called Gabbay a “good man,” and said it was good that someone with his business background had entered politics. He tried to walk back his criticism last week of Gabbay’s lack of experience on security issues.
“It was foolish of me to attack a man for inexperience,” Lapid said. “It is beautiful that he has entered politics with his experience in business.”
Lapid did, however, criticize Gabbay for attending a rally on Saturday night outside the Petah Tikva home of Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.
He said an elected official should not demonstrate against a government- appointed public servant.
In last week’s Yesh Atid faction meeting, Lapid picked a fight with Gabbay, hours ahead of when Gabbay was chosen as Labor leader.
“You cannot run in the oldest party in Israel and say you are the new and fresh thing,” Lapid said.
He went further in a Channel 2 interview on Wednesday night, saying Gabbay “doesn’t know what a security cabinet in wartime looks like.”
In his first speech to the Zionist Union Knesset faction, which includes Labor, Gabbay called upon party leaders in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to quit and initiate early elections due to criminal probes of Netanyahu and his associates.
“The legal system is doing its job at its own pace, but there are moments when leaders can no longer hide behind legal procedures,” Gabbay said. “The voters of [Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali] Bennett, [Shas head Arye] Deri, and [Kulanu chairman Moshe] Kahlon don’t understand their silence and expect them to tell Netanyahu ‘enough is enough’ as he told Ehud Olmert [who stepped down from the premiership due to his legal woes].”
MK Tzipi Livni, who heads the Hatnua Party that formed the Zionist Union with Labor, praised Gabbay and said she believed she would work well together with him to bring about a political upheaval.
“I hope these are the last weeks of this government,” she said. “The people of Israel deserve a government that is not corrupt.”