Lapid and Bennett (file)
Lapid and Bennett (file)Flash90

With elections less than three weeks away, campaigning continues to heat up and on Thursday night a televised debate will be broadcast on Channel Two

Eight party leaders, with the notable exceptions of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Zionist Camp leaders Yitzhak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, will participate in the debate. 

Yair Lapid, Moshe Kahlon, Naftali Bennett, Zehava Gal-On, Aryeh Deri, Eli Yishai, Ayman Odeh, and Avigdor Liberman will be grilled by news anchor Yonit Levi, and will also be given the opportunity to challenge each other. 

Hours before the debate, the party leaders sent Channel Two the most important questions they wished to ask their colleagues. 

While Shas Chairman Aryeh Deri has the opportunity to confront former #2 Eli Yishai for the first time since Yishai's resignation, Deri chose to focus his attention on Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, instead. 

"Yair Lapid, do you know that during your term as finance minister, an additional 100,000 children fell below the poverty lines?" he charged. "How do you sleep at night while 900,000 children go to bed hungry? While you're sleeping in Ramat Aviv, the mothers of these children shed tears. Where is the compassion?" 

Lapid, for his part, did not address any of the other party leaders personally, simply asking the practical question: "What is your plan for the State of Israel in the coming years?"

Like Deri, the chairmen of new parties Kulanu and Yachad-Ha'am Itanu, Moshe Kahlon and Eli Yishai, respectively, also chose to focus on economic issues in their pre-debate questions. 

"The most important issue for young couples is housing," Yishai stated. "Two working partners, and half of their salaries are going to mortgage or rent. This is a national calamity." 

Kahlon agreed that the housing crisis is the main topic to be discussed in the debate: "How could the people responsible for the housing crisis, the worst since the creation of the state, know about this and do nothing to prevent it or try to get us out of this catastrophe."

Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett, meanwhile, chose to focus on security, particularly allegations against IDF soldiers. 

"Soldiers, who were on the battlefield during Operation Protective Edge, went home and had the Military Police open investigations against them. This happened not just once, but dozens of time...What are you going to do about it?" he posed. 

Only Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On addressed the political issue and the Israel-Palestinian conflict. 

"Almost all the parties declare there is no partner [on the other side?] What exactly is your solution to ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict? This is the most burning question in Israeli society," she argued. 

Gal-On warned her fellow party leaders that "if we do reach a two-state solutions, there will be a national state here. Don't you think this is an important enough subject to raise during election campaigns. Because in the end there will be an apartheid state here."

The debate will be broadcast after the 8 p.m. news on Channel Two.