Finance Minister MK Yair Lapid, (Yesh Atid) has said Israel does not need the Palestinian Authority (PA) to recognize that it is a Jewish State.
This is in contrast to the policy of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has made recognition of Israel as a Jewish State an underlying principle for negotiations with the PA. Netanyahu has never backed down from this demand.
Lapid said on an interview with US television channel that his father Yosef, "Tommy" Lapid, had not arrived from a ghetto in Budapest to the city of Haifa, "in order to demand recognition from the side of Mahmoud Abbas." This demand is not necessary, says the Yesh Atid party head..
Yair Lapid's father was born Tomislav Lampel in the former Yugoslavia. His father was murdered during the Holocaust while he and his mother, after being deported to the Budapest Ghetto, escaped to Israel - what was then the British Mandate of Palestine - where he became an acclaimed journalist, later entering politics as the head of the ultra secularist Shinui party.
Prime Minister says recognition is non negotiable
Only a few days ago while delivering a robust speech at Bar Ilan University, the Prime Minster placed the demand for recognition as a central theme in his handling of negotiations. He said failure to have this demand met could place Israel in a situation with a Palestinian State to its side, and a large Arab population inside Israel - a result of PA demands that Israel allow descendants of Arabs who fled Israel to "return" - threatening to undermine its character as a Jewish state.
Netanyahu added that the PA's refusal to make the recognition was a sign that it wasn't truly serious about making peace. The PA demands that a Palestinian state be solely for PA Arabs, with no Israeli Jews allowed to remain as citizens.
At the Bar Ilan speech, Netanyahu also asserted that the Arab leadership in the British Mandate, before 1948, had supported Adolf Hitler's quest to murder the Jews of Europe.
"Recognize the Jewish State," he called out in his speech. "Why are you not prepared to recognize a Jewish State? We are prepared to recognize your national state," he said, adding that "it eats into our national homeland, and that is a very hard thing for us."
He continued "you also have to do make a list of concessions, and the first concession is to concede the right of return to the land."
Netanyahu reminded PA resident Arabs that an agreement would only be signed after PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish State and emphasized that this was a concrete condition.
"Recognition of the Jewish People won't do", he said, "or a dual nationality state that you will later come and flood with refugees."
"Recognize the Jewish State!" he called.