Lapid: 'Netanyahu is the complete opposite of Blue and White, he's been in power too long'

MK Lapid praises Blue and White as 'centrist,' says PA needs to 'delve deeply' into Trump peace plan.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Kobi Richter, TPS

Blue and White leader MK Yair Lapid on Monday morning spoke to the Foreign Press Association about Israel's upcoming elections.

"Like every election, in every democracy in the world, [the election] is between the future and the past, between people who fear change, and people who are inspired by it," Lapid said. "In Israel it is the same, but like always - on steroids."

"On one side of this, there is my party. Blue and White. This month, Blue and White is one year old. A year ago, [Blue and White Chairman MK] Benny Gantz and I sat in a friend’s garden and formed a new party. We decided it was time to break the left-right paradigm. Our trinity was: Security, 21st century economy, and the rule of law.

"We combined the security experience of three IDF Chiefs of Staff with the political experience of my colleagues and myself. We created a centrist, patriotic political party which says to the citizens of Israel: 'You don’t have to choose between a Jewish state and a democratic one. You don’t have to choose between your values and winning an election. We can win elections without insulting other people and inventing lies about them. You don’t need to choose between security and obeying the law. The fact that Israel is a law-abiding democracy is the secret of our strength. You don’t need to choose between economic efficiency and caring for the weak.'

"The State of Israel was formed out of an uncompromising fight for our values, for human decency, for the opportunity for every person – irrespective of where they come from – to make their mark. Blue and White is putting all that back on the table. That’s what made us the largest party in Israel."

Not content with praising his own party, Lapid lashed out at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying Israel's leader for the past decade is "the complete opposite" of what Blue and White stands for.

"A long-serving Prime Minister - too-long serving - who has been in power for almost 14 years," he said. "What is happening to him is the same thing that happens to every leader who holds on to power for too long – the unholy trinity: Corruption, loss of empathy, no new ideas."

"He is facing three serious criminal indictments. Four senior members of his coalition are also facing criminal indictments. Our essential systems – healthcare, education, transport – are in sharp decline. He doesn’t have any new ideas how to fix them. Just like he has no new ideas how to deal with Gaza or the budget deficit. He had 14 years. If he didn’t do something about it until now, he isn’t going to do it at all. You can’t teach an old Prime Minister new tricks.

"Because he has no new ideas he is doing what every long-serving and corrupt leader in history has done – he’s using fear and hate. Against minorities. Against his political opponents. Against the justice system which will soon put him on trial.

"This must stop. We are going to put an end to it."

In fact, Blue and White's recent campaign incited hatred against Religious Zionism, and last year, a different campaign incited hatred towards haredi Jews.

Lapid emphasized that his party approaches issues with "pragmatism."

"That’s the whole idea of a centrist party. The center isn’t the middle point between left and right. It’s the understanding that you’re allowed to take good ideas from everywhere. A country isn’t a zero-sum game. Living together means things will never be 100% the way I want them to be. Not with the Palestinians, not with globalization, not with the constant tension between security and the rule of law, not with matters of religion and state.

"The political center says – 80% isn’t bad. If we work hard and work smart, we can get there. Centrism is optimistic. It says: I don’t define myself by who I’m against, but by what I’m for. The center believes in maximizing opportunities.

"Our foreign and defense policy will be based on the idea that all great democracies - and Israel is a great democracy - are partners. It will combine our deeply held values as a Jewish state, with the patriotism, national pride and pragmatism required to survive and thrive in the Middle East.

"Our approach to the Palestinians is to tell them that always saying 'no' isn't a policy. A speech like the one president Abbas is going to deliver at the United Nations this week won’t advance them anywhere. The terror attacks we see this past week, only take them backwards.

"If instead of always automatically responding with violence and threats, they will take the time to delve deeply into the Trump plan they will see that it contains many opportunities for the Palestinian people. We have made clear we’re against unilateral steps. We want to take the Trump plan and use it to build a better future in this part of the world.

"Israeli society wants stability, but is hungry for change. That's the contradiction that led to a stalemate in April and September. I believe that's also the contradiction that will lead to a decision this time. The citizens of Israel understand that change won’t undermine stability, it will bring it about."