Lapid at Yesh Atid conference in Tel Aviv
Lapid at Yesh Atid conference in Tel Aviv Ben Kelmer/Flash 90

Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid on Thursday launched a scathing attack against parties in the outgoing coalition, accusing them of corruption and demanding they “give us back our country”.

Speaking at a Yesh Atid convention in Tel Aviv, Lapid said that the corruption to which he was referring went far beyond the corruption scandal involving members of the Yisrael Beytenu party.

"Corruption is not just the suspicions against Faina Kirschenbaum and local council heads from Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, who allegedly took funds that were earmarked for Israeli citizens. Corruption is a violation of the most basic contract between the state and its citizens,” charged the former Finance Minister.

"We've had it! We’ve had it with those who are corrupt and we are fed up with them stealing our country. Give us back our country!” he continued.

“A month before the government broke up I was called to a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Housing. They wanted to transfer 300 million shekels for bypass roads in Tapuah and public buildings in Itamar and Yitzhar. Money that goes directly to the benefit those who vote for them in the primaries. I refused,” claimed Lapid.

"I was made to understand that if I did not approve the money, the government could fall apart. I refused, because this is corruption, and blew up the meeting. As soon as we left the government, it took them one minute to do everything we had prevented, and they applied the same 300 million shekels for bypass roads around Tapuah and Yitzhar, because we were not there to guard the money,” he continued.

"Every time we told them that we will not allow them to transfer money to their friends, to their groups of interest - they said we do not understand politics. We understand politics very well. This is not politics, this is corruption. They stole our country, and we are here to take it back.”

Lapid went on to say that corruption goes beyond the Yisrael Beytenu affair but “everywhere we look, all we see is corruption.”

“Corruption is ordering pistachio-flavored ice cream to your house at the expense of the public, Mr. Prime Minister, and transferring your garden furniture to your villa in Caesarea, and asking the public to pay for the water in your private pool, and fighting for the public to buy you a private plane,” he charged, referring to several expenditure reports published about the Prime Minister’s residence in recent years.

“Yesh Atid was the only party that voted against the private plane. The only one! You should have seen how the Prime Minister jumped when he found out that we are opposed to him having his own private jet,” said Lapid.

"Mr. Prime Minister, in a country where there are the greatest social disparities in the West, where the middle class cannot make ends meet, a private jet is corruption," he continued.

"Corruption is when the Transportation Minister builds settlements and roads and railways that do not lead anywhere just because he has primaries coming up. When a former defense minister does not explain how he acquired the money for a 9 million shekel penthouse and no one - none of the so-called ‘justice fighters’ of the Labor party - says a word about it,” said Lapid, in a reference to former Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"And moral corruption is also the fact that today they raised my salary,” said Lapid. “Today the MKs’ wages were raised. For what? The Knesset isn’t even working. MKs are only concerned about the primaries and Yesh Atid was the only party that tried to prevent this unfounded wage hike. Do they think the public is blind? That the public does not understand that this is corruption? I declare here and now that I am going to donate this wage increase to charity, because none of the Knesset Members deserve it.”

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