In a letter to his supporters, Lapid wrote: "I met many former-Israelis in New York and Washington who took offense at what I said. I explained to them that I never claimed life in Israel was simple."
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Lapid further wrote that "I know that the Israeli middle-class is collapsing under the burden of life in Israel. For them I ran for election. The only thing I claimed was that the discussion regarding life in Israel cannot be confined to cost of living. This is an issue of the utmost importance, but if it was the only important issue we faced, then the country would have never been founded."
According to the finance minister, this issue pertains not just to those emigrating from Israel, but also to those immigrating and making aliyah: "A million (former-Israelis living abroad) are a massive human potential, we must do everything to bring them back home, so a company like Waze will be founded in Beersheba and not California."
Lapid speaking to Hungarian parliament (Photo: Reuters)
Lapid's mail came two weeks after he penned an angry status at Israelis immigrating from Israel – or "yordim" – which caused somewhat of a furor and was then accented by the debate regarding Israel's brain drain problem.
"A word to all those yordim who've 'had enough' and are 'leaving to Europe,'" Lapid wrote.
"I am currently in Budapest, I am here to remind them how they tried to murder my father here and killed my grandfather. So forgive me if I am a little impatient with those willing to throw away the only state the Jews have and move to Berlin because it's more convenient."
In his email, Lapid also commented on the peace process, reiterating his opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
"Netanyahu's bureau was quick to berate me in the press for what I said, claiming I expressed a leftist's position. That is utterly incorrect. What I said stemmed from a nationalistic-Zionist worldview; you see, Zionism demanded self-determination instead of expecting it from others," Lapid wrote.
In conclusion, the finance minster turned to his supporters and wrote: "I don't need (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas to recognize the right of the Jews to be in Israel, and am certainly not willing to pay a diplomatic price for it. The only recognition we need is from ourselves."
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