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Yair Lapid
Photo: Reuters
Finance Minister Yair Lapid

Journalist turned politician Yair Lapid is the current finance minister of Israel and chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid ("There's a Future") party, which placed second in the January 2013 general election, winning 19 Knesset seats.

 

Born in Tel Aviv on November 5, 1963, Lapid began his career in journalism as a military correspondent for the IDF's weekly magazine, BaMachane ("In the Camp"). He continued as a correspondent for the Maariv newspaper. In 1988 Lapid was appointed editor of the Tel Aviv local newspaper published by the Yedioth Ahronoth group. In 1991, he began writing a weekly column in Maariv's weekend supplement and then for Yedioth Ahronoth.

 

Lapid (center) with Netanyahu (L) and Peres after 19th Knesset sworn in (Photo: Reuters)
Lapid (center) with Netanyahu (L) and Peres after 19th Knesset sworn in (Photo: Reuters)

 

In 1994, Lapid branched out to television and began hosting the main Friday night interview program for Channel 1, and later hosted a popular talk show on Channel 2. In January 2008, Lapid began hosting Ulpan Shishi ("Friday Studio"), the Friday night news-magazine of Channel 2. That year, his first play, The Right Age for Love, was performed by the Cameri Theater.

 

Lapid has published seven books, wrote a TV drama series called “War Room” and acted in the Israeli film, “The Singing of The Siren.”

 

Lapid addresses supporters after 2013 elections (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)
Lapid addresses supporters after 2013 elections (Photo: Avishag Shaar-Yashuv)

 

Lapid, the son of the late Shinui chairman Yosef "Tommy" Lapid and author Shulamit Lapid, was voted the 36th-greatest Israeli of all time in a 2005 poll conducted by leading Israeli news website Ynet.

 

On January 8, 2012 Lapid announced that he was leaving journalism to enter the political realm. Four months later, on April 30, 2012 he registered his new political party, Yesh Atid.

 

Prior to the elections, the Yesh Atid leader said that he would demand a resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. His party's platform calls for an outline of "two states for two peoples," while maintaining the large Israeli settlement blocs and ensuring the safety of Israel.

 

In January 2013, just days before the election, Lapid said he won't join a cabinet that stalls peace talks with Palestinian Authority, and added that the idea of a single country for both Israelis and Palestinians without a peace agreement would endanger the Jewish character of Israel. He said, "We're not looking for a happy marriage with the Palestinians, but for a divorce agreement we can live with."

 

Lapid is married to journalist Lihi Lapid and lives in Tel Aviv's Ramat Aviv neighborhood. He has three children. Lapid's sister, Merav, is a clinical psychologist. Another sister, Michal, died in a car accident in 1984. 

 

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