Sources in Likud called Yair Lapid, leader of the Yesh Atid party, "condescending," following his statement that he could be Prime Minister in 18 months' time.
Channel 2's political correspondent, Rina Matzliach, reported Sunday evening that Lapid made the following statement, in what she said was a "closed conversation" held in the course of the last few days:
"I am not sure that I will be in the coalition. I could be the Chairman of the Opposition. Netanyahu will carry out financial reforms that will hurt the middle class and in 18 months I will replace him. That is what many of my advisers think will happen as well."
If Lapid opts for the Opposition, Netanyahu's government will be composed of the traditional partners in the Israel Right: Likud / Yisrael Beytenu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas and United Torah Judaism. Together, these parties will have a very narrow, 61-seat majority. If Kadima joins, that will bring it up to 63.
Lapid's ambitious belief that he is close to toppling Netanyahu and replacing him as Prime Minister - this is his first term as an MK and he has no previous political experience - may thus save Shas from being banished to the Opposition over Lapid's refusal to compromise on the hareidi draft issue.