A leading secularist NGO is upset with Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid for his political pact with Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, and says he has let down his voters.
"The coalition agreement of the government-in-formation indicates that MK Yair Lapid and the Yesh Atid party have abandoned the civil issues that they had committed themselves to," said Miki Gitzin, Director of Be Free Israel.
Be Free Israel was founded in 2009 by Meretz MK Nitzan Horowitz, among others. However, it says it is unaffiliated with any political party. It mainly concerns itself with fighting what it terms as religious coercion.
Sources in Be Free Israel said that the organization has been conducting contacts with Yesh Atid over the last few weeks, with the participation of the "coalition of pluralistic organizations in Israel." In the course of these contacts, Yesh Atid made clear that it would insist on changes in issues such as civil marriage and public transportation on the Sabbath, in exchange for joining the coalition.
"Yair Lapid and the Yesh Atid party have let down their voters and a coalition of 30 organizations that represents them," Gitzin charged.
"Regrettably," he said, "despite his repeated commitments, Yair Lapid left the matters of religion and state in the hands of the religious parties, the only difference being that the black kippah [hareidim – ed.] has been replaced by the knitted kippah [religious Zionists]. When [MK Naftali] Bennett and [MK Rabbi Eliyahu] Ben Dahan have veto power over any decision connected to religion and state, the citizens of Israel can only dream about civil marriage and divorces, and breaking the Orthodox monopoly."