Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid predicted on Wednesday that his party would achieve 22 seats in the next election.
Speaking during a toast in honor of Rosh Hashanah, Lapid said that in 2001, when his father, Tommy Lapid, headed the Shinui party which had six seats, “I gave him a sealed envelope and said, ‘Open it a day after the election.’ Eighteen months later, there were elections and Shinui won 15 seats. We had a party in Tel Aviv and at two in the morning we went to his house and I told him, ‘Now open the envelope.’ And he opened the envelope and inside it was written '15 seats.’"
He added, “So now I want to write our envelope: Our envelope says 22 seats – no less.”
Lapid said his party is defined as a submarine. “Over the water there is only a periscope. I am the periscope, the one who is being interviewed and holding conferences, but below the surface there is a huge body which grows all the time, which no one is aware of, and we will take it out of the water at the right moment.”
"Elections are determined on the ground. You are that ground, you're going to change the State of Israel,” Lapid told his activists, adding that they know what they are going to change the State of Israel “because it wants to change. We saw it time after time, in city after city, in one conference after another. The country wants to be like you. It doesn’t want to be cynical. It wants to go back to believing in something. It wants leadership of values, of caring, of mutual responsibility and of personal responsibility. It wants to believe that the people who lead it know where they want to go.”
“We are tired of people who sell us fear and hate,” he said. “We now prove to the State of Israel that if there is a group of people who really believe in what they do, you cannot resist them.”
Lapid has been accused of being anti-hareidi, especially when he called to recruit all hareidi-religious Jews into the army, rather than gradually increasing the number of those who serve, among the hareidim and among the Arabs, without setting public against public. Such a plan was proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai warned that Lapid “is acting like the wolf in the story of Little Red Riding Hood: He's trying to hide his sharp teeth and his hatred. He learned the lesson from his father, Tommy of blessed memory. He is indeed anti-hareidi but he knows how to hide his extremism.”
The Shinui party, which was headed by Tommy Lapid, Yair’s father, was staunchly secular and openly anti-hareidi.
In a recent radio interview, Lapid claimed that he is not against Israel’s hareidi-religious population.
“I do not hate any Jew in the world,” said Lapid. “We need to be in a Jewish state and that's important. I think the value of Torah study does not contradict with national service or with working.”