Israeli opposition leaders pledge to cancel discriminatory legislation

"Lapid, losing an election is not the end of democracy, it is the essence of democracy," Benjamin Netanyahu said to the Israeli opposition leaders.

 Leaders of Israel's opposition sit for a picture as they vow to oppose allegedly discriminatory laws, on December 26, 2022. (photo credit: COURTESY YAIR LAPID)
Leaders of Israel's opposition sit for a picture as they vow to oppose allegedly discriminatory laws, on December 26, 2022.
(photo credit: COURTESY YAIR LAPID)

Leaders of the soon-to-be opposition parties, save for Hadash-Ta’al, pledged on Monday to cancel all of the “extreme legislation” of the incoming coalition.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz of National Unity, Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beytenu, Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli of Labor and Ra’am MK Mansour Abbas met on Monday in the Knesset, after which a statement was put out along with a picture.

“We will struggle together against the dark and anti-democratic government that is being formed in the current days, which will take apart Israel from within. When we return to power, we pledge to cancel all of the extreme legislation that harms democracy, security, economy and Israeli society,” the statement said.

"We will struggle together against the dark and anti-democratic government that is being formed in the current days, which will take apart Israel from within."

Opposition leaders

It referred to reports in recent days about a slew of legislation that was anchored in the coalition agreements, including a law that would allow discrimination by private businesses based on religious sensibilities if the same product or services could be obtained in near proximity at a similar price; and a law that will cancel the clause in the law that bars people who incite to racism from running for the Knesset.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein seen during the vaccination of the two million recipients, in Ramla, January 14, 2021. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein seen during the vaccination of the two million recipients, in Ramla, January 14, 2021. (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

Earlier on Monday, Lapid accused Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partners of engaging in “looting the public purse” due to what he claimed was Netanyahu’s weakness.

Lapid warned that “extremist religious elements never stopped of their own will,” and that in this case they will also not stop voluntarily. Therefore, he said, Yesh Atid and the rest of the opposition will do all it can to stop the incoming government.

How did Benjamin Netanyahu respond?

"Lapid, losing an election is not the end of democracy, it is the essence of democracy."

Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu responded in a video soon after: “Lapid, losing an election is not the end of democracy, it is the essence of democracy.”

He accused Lapid of spreading “endless lies” about the incoming government, and of turning the public against its elected officials. He called on Lapid to “behave responsibly, accept the people’s decision, and pass on power in an orderly fashion.”