Lapid lays out party platform
Journalist-turned-politician's Yesh Atid faction files official request to be added to list of registered political parties ahead of September elections. Goals include prioritizing education, promoting universal IDF enlistment and peace agreement based on two states for two peoples paradigm
The Party Registrar at the Justice Ministry announced Thursday that Yair Lapid's newly formed Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party has filed an official request to be added to the list of registered political parties ahead of the general elections on September 4.
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The announcement includes the names of the party's 10 founders, including author and poet Ronny Someck and former Olympic judoka Yoel Razvozov – now a Netanya City Council member.
In its request, Yesh Atid also outlined its goals, including changing the system of government, prioritizing education, housing and health, improving the middle-class' economic situation, promoting universal IDF enlistment and encouraging all sectors, including the haredi and Arab sectors, to join the work force. The party also pledged to fight corruption and poverty.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Lapid's party said it would strive for a peace agreement based on the two states for two peoples paradigm while keeping the large settlement blocs in the West Bank under Israeli sovereignty and safeguarding Israel's security.
Earlier this week Lapid, a former journalist and news anchorman, presented his plan for the enlistment of all Israelis into the IDF or one of the national service programs.
"The Tal Law was faulty, we cannot take it anymore," he told party activists gathered at the Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv, while clarifying that "we do not hate haredim."
The controversial Tal Law effectively exempted the ultra-Orthodox sector from military service. In February the High Court of Justice accepted petitions against the law, which will not be extended in August as a result.
According to Lapid's plan, during the first five years of the program the haredim will be automatically exempt from IDF service. "(It is with a heavy heart) that we present this proposal, because logic and justice demand the immediate recruitment (of haredim) without compromises," he said.
However, Lapid predicted that more than 50% of haredim will prefer to leave the yeshivas and join the work force. This, he said, will save the State NIS 1.5 billion ($400 million), which will be allocated towards raising the salaries of those who serve in the army and towards academic scholarships for soldiers.
When the five years are up, according to Lapid's plan, every 18-year-old will be obligated to enlist in the IDF or join a civil service program. The number of new IDF recruits will be determined according to the military's needs. Combat soldiers and troops belonging to units that support combat outfits will serve three years, while other soldiers will serve two years. Soldiers who serve three years will receive a minimum wage salary starting in their second year of service and will be eligible for an academic scholarship upon their release from the army.
According to the plan, those who refuse to enlist will be denied the right to academic or housing stipends. However, they will still receive Social Security payments.