MKs congratulate Lapid on decision to enter politics

Opposition parties are particularly welcoming; Kadima, Labor hope he’ll help them bring down government.

Knesset 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset members in the opposition congratulated media personality Yair Lapid for leaving Channel 2 News to enter politics on Sunday.
Coalition members’ reactions were not as warm.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu chose only to say “Welcome to politics,” when asked about Lapid’s move during a press conference.
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Opposition leader Tzipi Livni wrote on her Facebook wall that politics was the best way to make a change, and that more people who wanted to change the country for the better should run for public office.
“More and more people are beginning to understand that talking is not enough; neither is action under the title ‘apolitical’ and letting others decide our destiny,” she wrote.
Livni’s Kadima leadership rival, MK Shaul Mofaz, said he had spoken to Lapid, congratulated him for joining politics, and called for him to help bring down the “bad Netanyahu government.”
Labor leader Shelly Yacimovich said Lapid was a quality person whose talents would contribute to the political field.
She added, however, that he would strengthen the Right and economic conservatives.
“Lapid, Livni and [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu represent the opposite social values of the Labor Party, which has clear social-democratic values,” Yacimovich said.
MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) called Lapid a “monster,” expressing concern that the television personality would follow in the footsteps of his reporter-turned-politician father, Tommy Lapid, who led an anti-haredi campaign with the Shinui party.
“After all of the demonization and delegitimization of haredim in recent weeks, it is natural that this monster, who is built on hatred of Judaism and will be the second version of Tommy Lapid, is now rising,” Ze’ev said. “This is not surprising at all.”
The Shas lawmaker added that his party need not be worried, and just as the haredi-Sephardic party outlived Shinui, it would not be threatened by Lapid. However, he added, Kadima, Meretz and Israel Beiteinu should be concerned, because Lapid would take Knesset seats from them.
MK Danny Danon (Likud) said he was glad that Lapid had “turned off his microphone,” and stopped using his roles as the anchor of Channel 2’s top-rated Friday night news program, Ulpan Shishi,’ and as a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, to produce “political propaganda.”
Some of the former journalists in the Knesset also congratulated the former talk-show host on his career change.
MK Daniel Ben-Simon (Labor), a former Haaretz reporter, said he hoped Lapid’s political career would put an end to the Right’s reign.
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz), also a former journalist for Haaretz, said Lapid’s move would put an end to “dangerous legislation,” such as the bill that would require a cooling-off period between a career in journalism and running for office.
“From my experience, the transition from journalism to politics is not smooth and easy,” Horowitz said. “Politics requires hard work, showing clear stances, and often personal criticism, which journalists are not used to.”
MK Nachman Shai (Kadima), a former television reporter and IDF spokesman, also praised Lapid, calling him a “quality” person, despite his “lack of experience in politics and management.”
Shai said a public figure entering politics was an invitation for every Israeli to do the same, or to do whatever else he or she could to make Israel a better country.