'Lapid is Meretz wrapped in an Israeli flag'

Education Minister rips Yesh Atid chief's opposition to Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria. 'He's Meretz wrapped in an Israeli flag.'

David Rosenberg ,

Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the Western Wall
Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the Western Wall

Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) excoriated former Finance Minister and Yesh Atid chief Yair Lapid Monday, comparing his one-time political ally to the far-left Meretz faction.

Speaking at a gathering of Jewish Home party officials Monday afternoon, Bennett attacked Lapid over his opposition to the proposed application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

“We’ve let Yair Lapid pretend [he’s a centrist] for far too long,” said Bennett.

“His behavior is like that of Meretz, just wrapped in blue and white,” continued Bennett, referencing the colors of Israel’s flag.

Lapid, who touts his Yesh Atid party as a centrist alternative to the right-of-center Likud and left-wing Labor party, first ran for the Knesset in 2013, alongside former Netanyahu chief of staff and tech executive Naftali Bennett, who also made his political debut that year.

Initially, the two formed a political alliance, vowing to enter a ruling coalition only if both factions were included. Bennett and Lapid frequently referred to one another in public as “brother” – a cordiality that began to wane ahead of the January 22nd, 2013 Knesset election as political differences regarding the future of Judea and Samaria and the relationship between religion and state became apparent.

On Sunday night, the Likud party’s central committee voted unanimously at a special gathering at the Avenue Conference Center near Ben Gurion Airport to back the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.

Lapid slammed the move, calling it a “gift to BDS” – referencing the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which seeks to delegitimize the Jewish state abroad.

“Who cares about [Kfar] Tapuah and Yitzhar,” Lapid asked rhetorically, referring to two Israeli towns in Samaria.

In response, Bennett told Jewish Home faction leaders that Lapid’s statement revealed his ‘true colors’.

“You can go to the Western Wall 20 times… but at the end of the day, Lapid’s vision includes the division of Jerusalem, the evacuation of [Jewish communities in] Judea and Samaria, and a Palestinian state right next to Highway 6.”