Lapid: It's possible to remove Netanyahu without elections

"He is the interfering factor." • Lapid added that while Naftali Bennett is currently sitting with him in the opposition, he believes the Yamina leader would join a Netanyahu government if asked.

YAIR LAPID: I will not go into a government with someone who is the opposite of honesty and decency. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
YAIR LAPID: I will not go into a government with someone who is the opposite of honesty and decency.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Opposition leader Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) stated on Sunday that it is possible to remove Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his position without going to elections, in an interview with 103FM.
Lapid stressed that while he did not get into politics to deal with getting Netanyahu out of office all day, "at the moment it is quite clear that he is the interfering factor."
"It is possible to replace the government and remove Netanyahu from Balfour without elections," Lapid told the radio station. "Before you ask about the polls, there are 70 seats in the opposition. It is much bigger because the Israeli public says 'this is how it is impossible to have a crisis.'
"The public says 'I am willing to vote for anything but not for the prime minister,' Lapid said. "It is 70 seats that say Netanyahu has failed in managing the coronavirus crisis, in managing the economy and health."
The opposition leader added that while Yamina leader and former defense minister Naftali Bennett is currently sitting with him in the opposition, he believes that Bennett would join a Netanyahu government if the prime minister asks.
Recent polls have seen Yamina skyrocket in the number of seats the party would earn if elections were held today. A recent poll by The Jerusalem Post's sister newspaper Maariv showed Yamina reaching 22 seats, while Likud plummets to 27 seats from its 36 seats in the current government.
 
ACCORDING TO the Maariv poll, if elections were held today, Lapid's Yesh Atid Party would earn 16 seats, becoming the third largest party in the Knesset. The left-center bloc would have between 21 and 55 seats depending on whether Yisrael Beytenu, Blue and White and the Joint List joined. The right-wing bloc would have between 56 and 66 seats depending on whether Blue and White joined the Left or the Right bloc.
Lapid told 103FM that he is "the natural candidate for prime minister" and "the head of the second largest party in Israel." Lapid's party, which currently has 16 seats, is currently the third largest in Knesset, so it is unclear what the opposition leader meant.
The opposition leader dismissed poll predictions, saying that elections always change things.
"Elections are divided into two camps facing each other and I am the head of the camp facing Netanyahu. So I am not worried about polls when there is no election date," said Lapid. "Once there is a date, everyone will stand on one side and anyone who does not want Netanyahu as prime minister because of the crisis management – not because of the old reasons or the criminal cases – will have to stand behind Yesh Atid."
The opposition leader expressed hope that he would end up higher than what polls were currently predicting, although he admitted that at the end of the day, "it's up to the voters."
Lapid is preparing to present a no-confidence vote to the Knesset on Monday and urges any MK who has lost confidence in the handling of the coronavirus crisis to vote in support. "I'm ready for them to come to me to close any deal. Want a date for elections? I'll give it. Want to set [a government] for only one year? I also think a coronavirus government is needed temporarily," Lapid told 103FM.
"I will join and help any organization that aims to establish a functioning government in the State of Israel without Netanyahu, that will take care of the economy and health. This is what interests us," stressed Lapid.
 
LAPID ATTACKED the government for the lack of certainty concerning the exit strategy from the coronavirus lockdown.
"If you have a business in the State of Israel and you need to know when it will open and under what conditions and you are not given an answer, what are you supposed to do?" said Lapid to 103FM, quoting a study that estimated that 70,000 businesses will close in Israel – and that the number is now close to 90,000. 
"You can't run an economy – and the coronavirus crisis is an economic crisis no less than a health crisis – under conditions of complete uncertainty where the government doesn't tell its citizens what's going to happen," he said.
"If the prime minister had learned the lessons, we would have had a budget and a plan for opening businesses. We would not be in a lockdown now, because this lockdown is a political lockdown," said the opposition leader, claiming that the lockdown was implemented in order to allow the government to avoid following the Traffic Light plan and having to split the country into red and green zones.
"He has not learned any lesson; he has failed miserably in managing this crisis," Lapid said.
While stating that Netanyahu is trying to extend the lockdown week by week to avoid allowing protests, Lapid added that "no one knows how it is conducted, how the decisions are made, what the decisions will be next week. Economics is just a game of expectations."
"It is impossible to act like this," charged Lapid, adding that while money is being "poured into the economy, someone will have to pay in the end, and no one knows how they will do it and from where."
"It is not a political matter, it is not Bibi: It is a managerial question. You look at what is being done in the world - in Finland and New Zealand, in Denmark and all the countries where the government is pragmatic, efficient and simple, doing transparent things that the public understands," the opposition leader told 103FM.
"What needs to be done is to unite all forces," stressed Lapid. "There is a crisis that is common to all and therefore everyone needs to connect and see how it can be managed better – and this is possible."