Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Israel news photo: Flash 90

Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid (Future) party, announced Thursday evening that his party would not join a nationalist government headed by Likud – Yisrael Beytenu.

"To all those who asked," he wrote on his Facebook page, "Of course we will not sit as a fifth wheel in a government of Shas and the extreme right."

"On the other hand – if we have enough Knesset seats, maybe we can establish a completely different government," Lapid added. "A moderate, centrist government in which we will be able to pass a law for an equal share of the burden, which will not pour billions into yeshivas and illegal outposts outside the settlement blocs, and that will take care of education and housing, and of the Israeli middle class."

The timing of Lapid's statement appears to be connected to a similar statement made earlier Thursday by MK Shelly Yechimovich, head of the Labor party. She said that she would only join a government with Netanyahu if she stood at its helm, as prime minister.

If Lapid stands behind his pledge, the next government might be composed solely of the "nationalist bloc" and the "hareidi bloc".