Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Israel news photo: Flash 90

Yesh Atid (Future) chairman Yair Lapid shot down on Saturday the idea of forming an anti-Likud bloc with Labor and Tzipi Livni's party, but then gave it his conditional consent. The idea was floated Friday night by Livni in a live Channel 2 television appearance, then seconded by MK Shelly Yechimovich, who heads Labor. Yechimovich and Livni agreed to meet soon to discuss the move.

Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he would meet Yechimovich and Livni, but added, "I have no interest in joining a 'blocking bloc' because it is not my habit to boycott people and parties."

"In the meeting, I will suggest to them that, in the likely case that Netanyahu will form the next government, we join it together, so that it does not become a government of hareidim and radical right wingers that again will take the money of the middle class and give it away in yeshivas and illegal outposts."

He added a short while later, "Shelly and Tzipi want us to declare that we will not enter the government. What good will that bring? A government of right winders and hareidim? So we took the lead and we are offering them the opposite. Instead of ignoring the probable scenario in which Netanyahu will form the next government, let us enter it together, and then, instead of a right wing and hareidi government, there will be a moderate and sane government that works for the Israeli middle class. Doesn't that make more sense?"

Later Saturday he said, however, in a television interview, that if none of the centrist parties enter a government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, neither would he. Speaking on Channel 2's Meet the Press, he said that if Tzipi Livni commits not to enter the Netanyahu government, he will also not enter it. However, he again suggested that Yesh Atid, Labor and Livni enter a "unity government" with Netanyahu. 

"I will not serve as a certificate of integrity for a government of hareidim and hard-line nationalists," Lapid said. "I will not sit between Orit Strook and Eli Yishai."

Eli Yishai, co-leader of Shas, is hareidi and relatively right-wing. Orit Strook, Number 10 in Bayit Yehudi, is "Zionist-hareidi," a resident of Hevron and an ardent nationalist.