Foreign Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday expressed sorrow over the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh, who was killed by a bullet that hit her in the head during clashes between IDF soldiers and Palestinian Arab terrorists in Jenin, and it is not yet clear whether she was shot by IDF soldiers or by the terrorists.
In an interview with Amit Segal on Channel 12 News, Lapid said, "A series of lessons we learned have led to the international arena accepting the narrative that we still do not know what happened, and that it is much better than what happened in the past where we were immediately blamed."
"We managed to instill in both the Americans and the European arena that 'wait, wait, we do not know what happened,'" added Lapid, who also said that about two hours after the incident, he offered the Palestinian Authority a joint pathological autopsy "in order to avoid doubt."
Lapid is unfazed by Ra’am’s threat to quit the coalition, which has caused a political upheaval. "We knew from day one that the fact that for the first time there is an Arab party in the coalition will be a difficult process and it will be a complex process," he said. "My work does not involve the Shura Council. I work with Mansour Abbas, with Waleed Taha, with the party itself. It was a long process but in the end there is a good result."
Lapid commented on his courtship of the Joint List party in order to pass the coalition’s decisions in the Knesset. "What is happening today is that, like all Israeli governments, we are working with all the parties," Lapid replied, not ruling out the possibility that they would rely on the Joint List party to pass the next budget.
Asked whether Balad and the Joint List are better than Itamar Ben Gvir, Lapid replied, "I think the biggest threat to the State of Israel is a Ben Gvir-Bibi government, because they threaten the idea that Israel is a democratic state. It's as if they suddenly like it, this idea that there will be no democracy here. One of them has been convicted of supporting terrorism and the other has three serious indictments and they will run the country?"
Lapid said he believes that the rotation agreement with Bennett in the role of Prime Minister will materialize, but explained that "it requires daily, difficult, complex political work. We know how to do it, we will move forward."
MK Itamar Ben Gvir responded to Lapid's remarks about him and said, "Yair Lapid himself said that he would not sit with the 'Zoabis' and supporters of terrorism and now he admits that he is forging an alliance with them. I, unlike them, love the country and work for the benefit of the IDF, and even if Lapid says 'Ben Gvir, Ben Gvir' a thousand times, it will not cover his cooperation with Knesset members who support the murder of soldiers."
The Religious Zionism Party attacked Lapid for not denying the coalition's reliance on the Joint List. "There are no expectations of Lapid," it said. "He symbolizes the tired and confused left, which has lost the Jewish and Zionist way, confuses between enemy and brother, sells the only Jewish state in the world to its enemies and boycotts MK Itamar Ben Gvir - a Zionist Jew, who loves his country and is loyal to his people.”
"But Orbach, Shaked, Elkin and their friends, who dedicate themselves to Lapid and cooperate with him in this absurdity, are repeatedly revealed as people without a backbone who break promise after promise, and allow the sale of the liquidation of the State of Israel in order to remain in their roles," the party added.