Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Kobi Richter/ TPS

Journalist Nahum Barnea of Yediot Aharonot reported that Yesh Atid's chairman, MK Yair Lapid, called one of the leaders of Chabad-Lubavitch in Israel to speak with him about the upcoming elections.

According to him, the integration between the more haredi-like Religious Zionists and the right-wing nationalists is something which the Chabad community sees as fitting. In 1996, they funded Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's campaign, which took, "Netanyahu is good for Jews" as its slogan.

The next step, Barnea said, is, "Ben Gvir is good for Jews."

Itamar Ben-Gvir is the leader of the Otzma Yehudit party, which is currently running in a joint list with MK Bezalel Smotrich's Religious Zionism party.

According to Barnea, in a phone call earlier this week, Lapid told the Chabad leader he spoke to: "If you support Smotrich and Ben Gvir's party, I will persecute you."

"It will be the end of Hanukkah menorahs on every corner during Hanukkah, and Chabad houses around the entire world. It will be the end of your story on loving every Jew."

In response, Smotrich said: "This is the whole difference between Chabad and Lapid, in one threat."

"The Chabad movement is careful not to identify itself politically, it loves and helps every Jew, no matter who he is, without any conditions and without any political requirements. It's the polar opposite of Yair Lapid.

"I am sure that in Chabad, they will continue to love Lapid, to bring him closer, and to host him happily, even after this threat. Because that's what Chabad-Lubavitchers are like, for over 200 years."