Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid Photo by Hadar Cohen
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Two new bills approved yesterday by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will make life difficult for political hopefuls. One bill would curtail Yair Lapid's ability to raise funds for his Knesset run, and another opposes Labor-sponsored legislation that calls for shortening the cooling-off period for senior army officers who want to enter politics. The latter decision by the committee effectively blocks former chief-of-staff Gabi Ashkenazi from taking part in the next elections.

Specifically, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation decided to support a bill requiring new candidates for the Knesset to create a political party within two weeks of the announcement that they're running for office, and then to comply with existing regulations concerning party campaign-funding transparency.

Likud MK Yariv Levin's so-called Lapid law is designed to impose limitations on fund-raising by potential Knesset candidates. Lapid must show "minimal public integrity" and reveal the sources of his funds even before the new bill reaches the Knesset, according to Levin.

"The public has a right to know where the money came from," said Levin, paraphrasing Lapid's slogan ("Where's the money?" ). "We must guarantee transparency and propriety in these procedures," he added.

In the current state of affairs, candidates such as Lapid are free of supervision with respect to campaign funding until they create a political party.

The committee also decided to oppose a bill sponsored by Labor chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich that would shorten the cooling-off period of senior Israel Defense Forces officers who want to run for the Knesset from three years to one. Yachimovich and Labor Knesset faction leader MK Isaac Herzog proposed the legislation - with figures such as Ashkenazi, Maj. Gen. (res. ) Amos Yadlin, and former Mossad chief Meir Dagan in mind.

Yachimovich and Herzog, who had hoped to attract such people to Labor after Ehud Barak and Matan Vilnai split to form the Atzmaut faction, said the committee's decision yesterday stemmed from "narrow, egoistic political motives. A cooling-off period of three years that applies solely to this one group, which served the country loyally, constitutes a clear case of discrimination."