Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Yisrael Bardugo

Yesh Atid chairman MK Yair Lapid on Thursday discussed the police's recommendations in the Netanyahu cases and the announcement that Lapid is a central witness in the so-called “Case 1000”.

“I am not the key witness in the case,” Lapid told Hadashot (formerly Channel 2 News) in an interview. "There is a whole series of investigations, in one of them I was asked to come and provide testimony. I will not allow the state to reach a situation in which honest, decent people are afraid to go tell the truth to the police when they are summoned to testify."

Lapid rejected the accusations that he had a personal relationship with Hollywood filmmaker Arnon Milchan, who is one of the central figures in “Case 1000”. Police suspect that Netanyahu illegally received gifts from Milchan.

According to the reports this week, Lapid provided police with evidence that Netanyahu pushed to extend a law, originally passed in 2008 under the government of then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, that would have given Milchan millions of dollars in tax breaks.

"I worked for Milchan 22 years ago, we still went to the Justice Ministry, there was a conflict of interest arrangement, everything was arranged," Lapid said, adding, “Part of the job of a finance minister is to say no to people when it’s needed. They are trying to create an equation in which the corrupt and the honest are the same, they are not."

Lapid claimed that he did not even remember Milchan’s request to extend the 2008 law before he was summoned to testify.

"When I was at the police and they told me the story, I admit that this was the first time I remembered that there was such a story. It was not a major thing," he said, adding, “Somebody came and asked something, I said no and moved forward. I thought it was a bad law, my job is not to help tycoons or politicians, my job is to help the citizens of Israel and no one else."

Lapid called on Netanyahu to resign. "This past week began with an Iranian drone that infiltrated into Israel, and continued with the collapse of Netanyahu's concept of the Russian and Iranian issues.”

"During the week he was concerned with his fate, posted on Facebook, and held discussions with his lawyers. It is impossible for him to continue to serve as prime minister because he is supposed to work 24/7 for the benefit of Israeli citizens and Netanyahu cannot do that. For the benefit of our security, our economy – we deserve a government whose sole focus is what is good for the citizens of the State of Israel."

The Likud responded to Lapid’s comments and said, "While Prime Minister Netanyahu is on his way to the world's most important security conference, where he is honored and respected as a world leader, the key witness Lapid runs to the studio and continues to hide behind poor spins instead of answering the simple question: How dare he preach to the prime minister when Lapid, in his capacity as finance minister, held a working meeting with his close friend and former employer Arnon Milchan?”

“Lapid's babbling about state security only proves his ignorance and is unworthy of a response - this is a man whose military and political experience amounts to reading from a teleprompter in a television studio. Prime Minister Netanyahu will continue to lead the State of Israel and invest all his energy in this. Yair Lapid - he will continue to search for any way to be in power except for at the ballot box, because he knows that there he will lose," the statement added.