Outgoing Science Minister Ya'akov Peri (Yesh Atid) on Saturday morning attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to dismiss Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Hatnua chairperson Tzipi Livni last week and call snap elections, and claimed that Lapid will come out on top in the end.
Peri stated that his party chair Lapid should be prime minister, saying "Yair Lapid in the last two years gained great political and financial experience and I see in him a fitting candidate for prime minister. I will support him with all my strength. Lapid can create a blocking coalition to replace Netanyahu."
At the same time, Peri stressed "it's less important who is the head of the (leftist) bloc, what's important is that they have enough mandates to replace the government."
Amid talk of Livni and Opposition and Labor party head Yitzhak Herzog forming a joint list, Peri said of the two: "if one of them stands at the head of the (leftist) bloc - we will certainly go with them, and I will be among their head supporters and an active doer in establishing that bloc."
Earlier last Friday, it was reported that Herzog and Lapid are competing to bring Livni into their parties in a bid to become the largest in the "center-left" bloc as it is being referred to. That report said that Livni is leaning towards Herzog.
Criticizing Netanyahu, Peri said "when a team loses, you switch the coach. The prime minister's decision to go to elections was irresponsible, and the end of Binyamin Netanyahu's leadership has come. Netanyahu thought about his own political benefit, and not on the benefit for the Israeli citizen."
The outgoing minister continued "the public lost important reforms and budget transfers of billions to welfare, education and health. The country is in a total national deadlock. Operation Protective Edge which opened the opportunity for a regional process was completely lost."
Netanyahu for his part charged Lapid and Livni for attempting a "putsch" in justifying his breaking up the coalition, with hareidi parties reporting that Lapid approached them in an attempt to form an alternate coalition.
Peri also said regarding reported attempts by Netanyahu to break apart Yesh Atid - reports which Netanyahu strongly denied calling them a political red herring - that they were "a cheap political trick."