Lapid opposes Center-Left bloc to oust Netanyahu

Yesh Atid leader agrees to meet leaders to discuss united front against PM, but suggests parties should join coalition together.

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid 370 (photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid 370
(photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid posted on his Facebook on Saturday afternoon that he will not be joining any united Center-Left bloc with Labor and the Tzipi Livni Party in the run up to the January 22 elections.
Giving his reasons for his refusal, he said he does "not tend to boycott people and parties." Lapid said that during his scheduled meeting with Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich and Tzipi Livni Party leader Tzipi Livni, he will suggest that "in the likely event that (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu forms the next government, we should join it together so it will not be a government composed of haredim and extreme right-wingers."
The refusal follows his announcement earlier on Saturday that he would meet with Yacimovich and Livni to discuss efforts to create a "united front" to displace Netanyahu. However, a time and date for a meeting between the three leaders has yet to be set.
At a cultural event hosted in Kiryat Bialik, Lapid downplayed the proposed meetings, coyly responding to questions over his Friday night phone-call with Livni and the decision to meet with her and Yacimovich, saying that the party leaders would meet in any case.
"Of course I will grant Livni and Yachimovich's request to meet. I meet with every element in the political establishment who wishes to discuss matters with me. This week I had coffee and a long conversation with Shelly Yachimovich. There is no big drama here. The political system is built in a way that its leaders meet all the time," Lapid said.
Lapid added that he did not enjoy publicized announcements, stating: "I don’t like it when people act out of pressure, and it seemed odd to me that the meeting was announced on television with a dramatic statement," he said.
In spite of this, the Tzipi Livni Party hailed the move in a statement following Lapid's announcement, with Livni noting that with a united front against the prime minister, there is a "real opportunity to make a difference."
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The Netanyahu government was unfazed by Livni's initiative.

"I wish that the other side, to the left, would coalesce,because that would hone the differences between us," Vice PrimeMinister Moshe Yaalon of the ruling Likud said in a speech.

In an apparent dig at Lapid and Yachimovich, Yaalon rued "the immodesty and immaturity in the desire of certain people to jump straight into the cold water of being prime minister, without passing through any stations along the way."

Earlier on Saturday, Livni told a cultural forum in Tel Aviv that "anyone who understands the gravity of the [current] situation should rally around the initiative."
"When people see me, Shelly, Yair and [Kadima leader Shaul] Mofaz and anyone else who understands that these are troubled times united around the goal of replacing Netanyahu -- all of those who have given up will go out and vote," she said.
Yachimovich also addressed a cultural forum in Tel Aviv on Saturday to say Labor will not be joining a Netanyahu-Liberman government.
"Replacing Netanyahu is a possibility, particularly in light of the fact that Likud-Beiteinu is very weak," she said, adding that Labor "refuses to surrender to defeatism."
Yachimovich said this week she intended either to be the next prime minister or to sit in opposition, and that Labor would not join a Netanyahu-led government.