Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid votes, March 17, 2015.
(photo credit: PR)
Seven heads of local authorities across the country are joining former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, they announced on Tuesday at a press conference at the Zionist Organization of America center in Tel Aviv.
The mayors included Golan Regional Council head Eli Malka, who was a long-time Likud member; Sigal Moran of the Bnei Shimon Regional Council, who left the Labor party; and the mayors of the Yoav, Megilot, Brenner, Emek Hama’ayanot and Ha’arava Hatihona regional councils.
The mayors, who have been meeting for months to decide their future together, said they are making the move because of their concern for the country’s future and not because of any personal promises the party made to them.
Lapid said it was a happy day for Yesh Atid, which he said will put an emphasis on the periphery, agriculture and unifying Israeli society, three issues especially important to the mayors.
“We are here because we are worried that the current political system acts only for itself in place of the citizens,” Lapid said at the event.
When asked by The Jerusalem Post
whether leaving the ruling party could harm his constituents, Malka said they have been asking what took him so long, and Lapid said the question indicated the problem with the current system.
“That’s what we are trying to change,” Lapid said. “We helped people before without asking what party they were from, and we will continue to do that to make necessary changes.”
The mayors all said they are proud to enter politics on a national level. But it was unclear which of them would be Knesset candidates for Yesh Atid in the next election. Former mayors and current Yesh Atid MKs Meir Cohen and Haim Jelin attended the event.
“The tragedy is [that] when people tell the truth, people look for what’s behind it,” Moran said. “People ask me what I have been promised and whether I left a drowning ship. I just think change needs to be made, and Yesh Atid should make it.”