Lapid 'Doesn't Regret' Slamming Deri During Debate

Yair Lapid talks about Yesh Atid's campaign as well as his controversial remarks to Deri during elections debate.

Cynthia Blank,

Finance Minister Yair Lapid and MK Aryeh Deri
Finance Minister Yair Lapid and MK Aryeh Deri
Flash 90

While a far cry from the 19 seats he received in 2013, Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party continues to poll well with between 12-13 mandates as elections for the 20th Knesset approach. 

His tenure as finance minister may have been disastrous, but Lapid has apparently managed to regain voter confidence through a diligent campaign that includes traveling across the country to connect with constituents. 

Speaking in an interview with Walla! News, Lapid explained that "the strategy was to do a campaign by foot, that we'll meet with the citizens of Israel, and then with the media in the second phase." 

"We have a very strong base and campaign team. Unlike the Likud whose base has crumbled, our campaign team knows how to bring people to events," he claimed.

Lapid added that Yesh Atid was aiming for a positive campaign which avoids arguments. Furthermore, he and Labor head Yitzhak Herzog made a pact not to attack each other, because "other MKs say terrible things about us."

However, Lapid was on the attack last Thursday when, during the eight-way debate with other party leaders, he told Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri that he needed to be rehabilitated. 

"I don't regret anything," Lapid said of the incident. "The fact that Deri is part of the political system is a serious thing. A man convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude is a public figure." 

"It's not personal, because laws are not retroactive, but I don't understand the cowardice to admit that there's something not okay with [what I said] - that a man who took bribes is not supposed to sit today as if everything is legitimate."

Addressing coalition formation, Lapid found it ironic that Deri is likely to recommend Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for another term, instead of Herzog. 

"I have a large ideological conflict with the Labor party on issues of religion and state - they didn't vote in favor of equality of the burden [haredi draft law - ed.]. They've received their punishment in the sense that Deri announced that he will recommend Netanyahu."

According to Lapid this proves that "you should always do what you believe in. Otherwise you won't know how to live with yourself."

Lapid also denied that he had some sort of coordination or united front with other center parties Kulanu and Yisrael Beytenu. 

"There is no coordination and there will be no united front. It's all a fantasy. Political life is not like that. It's a competitive business. People do not coordinate two weeks before election," he said.




top