Lapid outside his TA home, Monday
Photo: Ben Kelmer

Minister: Lapid threatens Likud's rule

Following popular TV news anchor's decision to enter politics, Minister Eitan says ruling party must 'stress liberal, democratic values' if it wants to keep supporters. Lieberman: New forces good for politics

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) said Monday that Yair Lapid's decision to leave journalism and enter politics was positive, but he mockingly added that the days of so-called "atmosphere parties" have ended.


"The political map has been changing for decades – since the days of Dash. First it was Dash, then it was Shinui and the Pensioners Party. Ultimately, the entrance of Lapid and others into the political ring is positive. All these new forces will invigorate the system," the FM said during a meeting of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.


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On Sunday senior Likud officials said Lapid would not have any influence on the ruling party's power, but Minister Michael Eitan said Monday that the former TV news anchor's move could threaten Likud's rule.


"We are losing the support of our moderate voters, and if this continues, we will be overthrown because people will vote for Lapid, who will become more attractive than what Likud currently represents," he said.


Speaking to Ynet, Eitan said "Lapid could threaten Likud by effecting change within the various blocs." According to the minister, Lapid's move to politics will force Likud to "get back to stressing liberal and democratic values."


He said Likud "must be careful because some of its supporters may potentially back Lapid."


Eitan said that recent polls showed that many people who voted Likud in past elections have not remained loyal to the party and eventually changed their voting patterns.


"The (voters) Likud got back from Kadima in 2009 are not loyal to the party," he said. "They can easily vote for another party in the next elections unless Likud places an emphasis on liberal and democratic values."


Eitan warned that the "radicalization" of Likud may cause some of its "centrist" supporters to back Lapid. "I am concerned because lately Likud has been leaning to the right – also due to the existing coalition," he stated.


However, the minister expressed hope that following the next elections Likud would be able to forge a coalition with Kadima and Lapid's party. "Likud will remain the largest party, but the strengthening of the center will allow the government to work on a constitution and establish a bloc that will seek to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic country," he said.


Nahum Rosman, Lapid's neighbor, told Ynet "here in Ramat Aviv (north Tel Aviv neighborhood) he will get many votes, but so did (President Shimon) Peres - and it did not help him. His success depends on the developments in Israel this coming year."


Another neighbor, Rachel Zion, suggested that Lapid raise the banner of secularism in the face of "growing extremism" within the ultra-Orthodox community.


"This will help him gain more votes," she said.


Moran Azulay and Boaz Fyler contributed to the report



פרסום ראשון: 01.09.12, 14:39
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