Lapid: Incoming gov't is 'extreme, irresponsible' with 'weak prime minister'

Yesh Atid head refutes Benjamin Netanyahu's recent claims of having successfully formed a government and warned against extremism.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022.  (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022.
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid addressed the Israeli public on Thursday evening and warned that the new governmnet to be led by Benjamin Netanyahu will be the most extreme in Israeli history. 

"I stand here and speak to you out of deep concern for the fate of Israeli society," Lapid began. "I feel it is my duty to tell the public: the government established here [by Benjamin Netanyahu] is dangerous, extreme, irresponsible. This will end badly."

The outgoing prime minister refuted Netanyahu's recent claims of having successfully formed a government, saying "Benjamin Netanyahu informed the president last night that he had decided to form a government. This is not true."

"The Likud did not establish the government," asserted Lapid, "they [Bezalel Smotrich, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Aryeh Deri] established it."

Lapid went on to list the ways in which the incoming government is endangering the State of Israel. He referred to the harm and dismantling of the foundations of Israeli society, the IDF, the police, the Education Ministry, Israel's international standing, the Israeli economy and, finally, world Jewry. 

 Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022.  (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90) Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

The foundations of Israeli society

"According to the coalition agreements, an ultra-Orthodox student who does not study math and English will receive thousands of shekels more than a student in a state school," Lapid said. "A Yeshiva student who does not enlist and does not work will receive more money than a soldier in the IDF. The government will subsidize apartments only for the ultra-Orthodox sector. This is a liquidation sale of Israel's future."

The IDF and the police

"The defense minister will lose control over the Civil Administration," predicted Lapid. "In Judea and Samaria, the main scene of the IDF's activity, it is not clear who is responsible for what. This is a recipe for an explosion."

On the topic of the Israel Police, Lapid referenced its future minister, MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, asserting that "a violent criminal who had 53 indictments and was convicted eight times of serious crimes" is not fit to enforce the law.

The Education Ministry 

Yair Lapid referred explicitly to Avi Maoz, the potential future deputy minister under Netanyahu, calling him a "terrible racist who has blacklists of LGBT people and activity in women's organizations." The prime minister warned that, under Maoz, Israeli parents may worry that their children are being brainwashed into bigotry rather than being educated in school. 

Israel's international standing and economy

"This [incoming] government will not be able to coordinate with the international community in the face of the Iranian nuclear threat," warned Lapid. "It will not be able to stop sanctions against Israel. This is the first government in the history of the country that the United States does not consider its closest ally."

Regarding the economy, Lapid stated plainly that, under Netanyahu's coalition, "the cost of living will rise even more."

The international Jewish community 

Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022.  (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

In what was a reference to United Torah Judaism's recent push to restrict the Law of Return, as well as past dismissive comments made by incoming ministers regarding Reform Jews, Lapid expressed concern for Israel's future relationship with the Jewish Diaspora.   

"Reform and Conservative Jews - the vast majority of American Jewry- will not be able to see Israel as their second homeland," he said. "Changing the Law of Return will stop the ... wave of immigration from Russia and Ukraine."

Lapid's final remarks

 Lapid concluded his remarks by calling on the citizens of Israel to remember their rights and to speak up against injustice.

 Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90) Israeli Prime Minister and Head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid holds a press conference in Tel Aviv on December 22, 2022 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

"This government wants us to pay its taxes, send our children to the army - and shut up. This will not happen. As long as Israel is a democracy, the opposition will not take instructions from the government as to what it is or is not allowed to say."

"Be on your guard against a dangerous, extreme and irresponsible government with a weak prime minister who lost control of it even before he was sworn in," Lapid told Israelis. 

The prime minister also assured viewers and listeners that he and his allies are not giving up.

"We will lead this fight," he said. "We are not going anywhere. We are fighting for our beloved country."

Benjamin Netanyahu's response

After Lapid spoke, Netanyahu quickly responded on social media, saying: "Lapid, who left us a devastated country in economic and political collapse, with Iran racing toward nuclear power ...with rampant murder and violence, is preaching to the next government with baseless claims. Lapid - you lost the elections. Go home."