Ram Ben Barak and Yair Lapid
Ram Ben Barak and Yair LapidGideon Markowicz/TPS

MK Yair Lapid was re-elected as chairman of Yesh Atid on Thursday evening, and won the support of 52.5% of those with the right to vote in the primaries for the party leadership, but his opponent, MK Ram Ben Barak, scored a significant achievement by garnering 47.5% of the votes.

In fact, only 29 votes separated Lapid, who has led the party from the day it was founded - and obtained the support of 308 voters, and Ben Barak, who received 279 votes.

Lapid said after his election, "I want to thank Member of Knesset Ram Ben Barak for a fair race, without slander. Ram, together with you Yesh Atid once again showed the State of Israel that it is possible to be different. That there is such a thing as a different politics."

"The primaries are over, but our war has only just begun. Because there is no one but us who offers this country a different vision and a different direction. Everyone surrendered and went and sat under Netanyahu and only we remained, so only we will make the change," he added.

"Until a few weeks ago, every person I met told me one of two things: Either he told me, 'Why don't you enter the government?' or he told me, 'Why aren't you a more aggressive opposition?' Now I am not told either of these things. Every person we meet tells us something different today. They say: 'Save us.'"

"This government is responsible for the greatest disaster that occurred to the Jewish people since the Holocaust, and it has one goal, and one goal only: That we forget it. That we forget that it happened on their watch. There is no country in the world, not even one, where these people would have stayed in their jobs even one more day. The people of Israel say, 'Save us.' The families of the hostages say, 'Save us.' The middle class says, 'Save us,'" added Lapid.

He claimed that "this government has crushed Israeli security, the most basic thing - the knowledge that there is someone protecting us. Instead of strengthening the IDF, it is weakening it. Helping the haredim evade the draft again. It has to stop. Together we will win, only if we mobilize together. This government takes the money of the working and serving public and, instead of lowering the cost of living and investing in young parents and reservists, it spends it on itself. On unnecessary government ministries and unnecessary jobs and unnecessary payments to people who don't work."

"So we have a task. Our task is difficult, but possible. We need a different government, which will change the priorities, kick the extremists out of our lives and start running things properly, a government that will finally restore order in this country. We need a government that will recruit haredim without fear, that will write a constitution, that will invest our money in state education and small businesses and technology, that will build our ties with the United States and the moderate Arab countries instead of destroying them, that instead of insulting people will bring people together. We need to restore hope to the State of Israel. We need to re-convince this country that it has a future. We need to restore faith and strength to the children who return from Gaza and to the pensioners whom the state forgot about, to the middle class that pays for everything, to the women who were excluded from positions of power, to the weak whom no one counts."

"We will work with all the sane forces, with Benny [Gantz] and Gadi [Eisenkot], with [Avigdor] Liberman, with the left and with the Likudniks who can no longer bear extremism and corruption. 2024 is an election year. There will be elections. The change this country needs starts here and starts now. It's time to write a new chapter in the life of this party, and in the life of this country," he concluded.