Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday evening gave his first speech as Yesh Atid chairman since taking over the leadership of the country, effectively launching the Yesh Atid election campaign.
“The State of Israel has big challenges – high cost of living, national security challenges [and the] corruption and extremism in Israeli society,” Lapid said in his speech, which he gave at the beginning of a Yesh Atid faction meeting in Tel Aviv.
“An election is the last thing we need,” he added.
“Unstable governance harms the economy and national security. It is time to end the saga once and for all. The only way to do so is to win the election and form a broad and stable government,” he said.
“The choice that Israelis are making is not between me and [opposition leader Benjamin] Netanyahu. The choice is between the future and the past. The choice is between those who only think of their personal gain, and those who think about the good of the country,” Lapid said.
“On our watch [Israel] will not be a rich country with citizens who cannot pay their bills. There will not be corruption that causes an entire generation to lose faith in the country. There will be a country in which people respect each other, because we are partners,” he said.
“This election was forced upon us, but it can be an opportunity that will not return in order to exit the chaos, to form a wide, stable, national government, without the extremists"PM Yair Lapid
“This election was forced upon us, but it can be an opportunity that will not return in order to exit the chaos, to form a wide, stable, national government, without the extremists. Only one thing will allow this to happen: A large, strong Yesh Atid, which will steady the Israeli ship,” he said.
Timing is everything
The speech came after Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced on July 10 that their two parties will run together in the election. This was widely interpreted as making Gantz a third realistic candidate for prime minister besides Lapid and Netanyahu.
The Gantz-Sa’ar merger could take seats away from Lapid, and his campaign will attempt to remain the second largest party by as large a margin as possible.