"Kadima came back to be what it has actually always has been, which is part of the Likud," Yair Lapid said Tuesday during an address to the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement in Atlanta following the unity agreement between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz.
"They came back home and I want to use this opportunity to congratulate them on this reunification," he said.
- Haredi factions: Mofaz isn't Livni
- Left slams ‘dirty unity deal’
- Analysis: Unity deal’s winners & losers
"The last person who had such a coalition was Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania," the journalist-turned politician said to laughter.
"Not everything that happened in the last 24 hours is bad," Lapid told the Rabbinical Assembly. “Kadima is returning to Likud and the political map in Israel has now changed in a way that now allows my party (Yesh Atid) to become the sole representation of Israel’s moderate voting class.”
Lapid also referred to the issues of conversion and freedom of prayer, strongly supporting Jewish women to pray at the Western Wall. “Israel cannot be the only country in the Western World that has no freedom of religion to choose. This is just blatantly wrong and it must disappear,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to ensure the equality of all religious movements in Israel.”
Earlier Tuesday, Lapid published a letter to supporters addressing Mofaz's decision to join a unity government.
"This is the chance of a lifetime. Without understanding what they were doing, Mofaz and Netanyahu have made us the only alternative for the sane center," he wrote in the letter, which was published following Netanyahu and Mofaz's joint press conference.
"I know you are disappointed with the past day's developments because as citizens it pains you to see how cynicism has taken over the entire political sphere and how no one is even pretending to care. You are also disappointed because we could already taste it. We already launched our (election) campaign," Lapid wrote.
"I felt the same way for about two hours, and then I realized this was the opportunity of a lifetime. Kadima has gone back to being what it has always been – a part of Likud. Labor and Meretz are on the Left. In one day we have become the only representatives of the sane middle class," the rookie politician told his supporters.
"Twenty-eight mandates are now up for grabs in the center of the political map. They could be ours. You can also add all those who are infuriated by the old and immoral politics we have witnessed (today)."
During the press conference, Mofaz explained Kadima's decision to join the coalition, "There are moments in a nation's life that it is called to make serious decisions. I believe that the time has come to change world orders.
"This is a historic move of national unity which is important for the State's future. A coalition of 94 MKs will better handle the challenges," he said.