Lapid blames bourgeois problems on haredim

Former Channel 2 anchorman vows to represent middle class, protect their money from settlers, tycoons, and gov't.

Yair Lapid 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Yair Lapid 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
New politician Yair Lapid took a page out of the playbook of his father, the late Shinui leader Yosef Tommy Lapid, when he wrote a column for Friday’s Yediot Aharonot blaming the problems of the middle class on the haredim (ultra-Orthodox).
In the column, excerpts of which were obtained by The Jerusalem Post, Lapid explained why he quit his job as anchorman of the Channel 2 news magazine Ulpan Shishi and entered politics on Sunday. He wrote that his goal was to represent the middle class and prevent their money from being taken by settlers, tycoons and the government – but mostly the haredim.
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“Israel has been enslaved for many years by members of a shameless, extortionist, special interest group – some of whom aren’t even Zionist – who take advantage of our twisted political system to steal the money of the working class,” Lapid wrote.
Acknowledging that it would disappoint many of his supporters, he said he would make an effort to refrain from attacks on the haredim, because it would play into the the hands of Shas.
“I have no interest in hating Jews, just in dividing the resources better,” he wrote. “I think haredi children must learn the core curriculum and their parents should work. I believe that there are many haredim who agree and would be happy to find out that there is someone who will struggle against the extremist rabbis and hacks who embitter their lives.”
In his attack on the settlers, he said the middle class’s money can also be found in “settlements that look like Switzerland, which have roads leading to them that are better than Switzerland.”
Lapid said his first campaign sticker would say “Where is the money?” He said he was writing a platform on key issues, including the conflict with the Palestinians, socioeconomic issues and the need for a constitution.
Defending his decision to leave Channel 2, he said said some of his friends told him he was crazy, but he gave up money and influence for what he believes in. He mocked his critics, who he said accused him of using his TV show to advance his agenda and were now saying he had no views at all.
Lapid also defended himself on his Facebook wall, telling one critic that after writing 11 books, thousands of columns and delivering hundreds of lectures “Who do you know in politics whose views have been distributed even close to that?” He wrote on Facebook that Friday’s column would explain why the traditional labels of Right and Left were no longer relevant and why he refuses to accept them. When someone called him a leftist, he said “Why leftist? I am not a leftist and I never was.”
Lapid defended his relationship with former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who he said was his father’s best friend and comforted his family when his sister was killed. Lapid consulted with Olmert before deciding to enter politics.
Saving his worst criticism for those who compare him to his father, he said “How polite do you think it is to use a man’s dead father as an example in an argument with him?”