Daily Israel Report

Amid Drop in Polls, Lapid Admits to 'Messing Up'

Listing mistakes in year as finance minister, Lapid admits arrogance, denies smoking pot. 'I'm full of defects, but didn't smoke grass.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 3/14/2014, 9:33 AM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Summarizing a year as Finance Minister, Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid admitted that in the field of media he "messed up the most."

Lapid was asked to list the central mistakes he is sorry for in the last year, in an interview in the newspaper Sof Hashavua, which appeared Friday morning.

Heading Lapid's list of mistakes if "that I relied on myself too much in terms of the media. After all I'm a professional in the field, I told myself, and didn't bother to learn the difference of how it is to be on the other side."

The response is significant given that Lapid is a former journalist and news anchor since his days in the IDF as a military correspondent for the army’s Bamahaneh magazine, a "contribution" termed by MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) as a loss for the country.

"Specifically in the field that I'm apparently the most expert in, I messed up the most," acknowledged Lapid.

The second mistake on Lapid's list "is of course that announcement when I said I guess next time I'll run for prime minister and win. That was complete prattle, how do you guess something like that; you don't decide, the public does."

A poll conducted last May, just weeks after the announcement which followed Knesset elections, found 66% of the public said Lapid shouldn't be prime minister. Meanwhile, a poll two weeks ago found Lapid bottoms out the list of public approval for ministers.

"That was some arrogance after the elections which I could have lived without," remarked Lapid.

'I'm full of defects, but I didn't smoke grass'

When suggested that his denial of having smoked marijuana in the past should be the third mistake on the list, Lapid responded "come on. Listen, I'm already sorry that I didn't smoke."

Last September Lapid raised eyebrows by denying allegations of past drug-use by those who say they smoked with him.

"In Israeli politics the accepted practice says you can't have any defects. I'm a man full of defects. I don't claim not to have defects. I have a long list of sins, I drank and I flirted, until the woman married to me now appeared in my life, but I didn't smoke grass," stated Lapid.

Lapid further said "I'm at the stage where I'm sorry I didn't smoke, I could have come and said 'yes, I smoked, leave me alone.' Would it have damaged me? We're in 2014. Go to a Herzliya high school, do an investigation."

Some controversial moves not on Lapid's list

Lapid has made some controversial moves in the past year that didn't make his list of regrets.

One such move was cutting off all funding to Judea and Samaria in February, following an extreme left-wing journalist's accusations that the money was going to the region's Yesha Council.

Later the same week, Lapid leaped on a loophole to retroactively cut funding to all yeshivas, in an attempt to penalize hareidi yeshivas whose students had their enlistment deferred by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

The move was part of an ongoing crusade spearheaded by Lapid to draft hareidim to the IDF, which culminated in the Enlistment Law that passed this Wednesday. The push has caused a strong backlash by the hareidi public, including a rally of hundreds of thousands hareidim in Jerusalem two weeks ago.