Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Israel news photo: Flash 90

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said at an event Monday that his party would not necessarily participate in an “automatic block” coalition that Tzippy Livni was trying to organize. After meeting with Livni and Labor Party head Shelly Yechimovich, Lapid said at an election discussion that he accepted the polls that said the Binyamin Netanyahu would be forming the next government – and that instead of futilely trying to prevent that, it would be better to enter the government as a “middle balance” against the rightwing parties Netanyahu was likely to recruit for his government.

“I'm not happy about the prospect of Netanyahu's winning and I would be very happy if the situation changed at the last minute, but all the polls show that this is unlikely to happen, and Netanyahu will be forming the next government,” Lapid told an audience of students at Haifa University Monday. As such, he said, it didn't make sense to boycott the government even before it was formed.

Over the weekend, Livni declared that her Hatnua party would not join a Netanyahu-led government, no matter what. She has been trying to recruit Yechimovich and Lapid into declaring their unwillingness to do so as well, creating a group of as many as 40 MKs that would refuse to participate in the government, thus making it much harder to Netanyahu to form one after the election.

“We are not going to be blocking anything,” said Lapid. “And in fact, the parties that will be participating in this block with Livni are the Arab parties, and we will not participate in such an effort with Hanin Zuabi,” the Arab MK who, despite participating in the 2010 flotilla event sponsored by Hamas-backed Turkish terror sympathizers, was recently given permission to run in the coming elections. He suggested instead that all three parties enter the government in order to keep out Hareidi parties.

Lapid also said that he felt very uncomfortable with both Livni and Yechimovich. “We still do not know Livni's positions on a number of issues important to us, such as education and ensuring that all Israelis serve in the IDF. As far as the Labor Party is concerned, there is a wide gap in our stances on a number of issues, such as economic issues.” With that, he said, there were certainly areas that Yesh Atid and Labor could cooperate on.