Yair Lapid - Moti Milrod - January 2012
Yair Lapid Photo by Moti Milrod
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A planned discussion of a bill to impose a cooling-off period on journalists seeking to enter politics has been canceled after Channel 2 presenter Yair Lapid, thought to be main impetus behind the law, quit his job to enter the political fray this week.

The Knesset Constitution Committee was supposed to discuss the so-called the "Lapid Law" today. But committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) said that with Lapid having quit journalism, he sees no reason to continue working on the bill - a statement that bolsters suspicions the bill was meant mainly to keep Lapid out of politics.

Rotem has opposed the bill from the start. At an earlier committee meeting on the subject, he called it "a grave blow to the most democratic process of all - a person's right to be elected," adding that "many rabbis also have great influence over a sizable public, but no one is seeking a cooling-off period for them."

MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen (Likud ), one of the bill's sponsors, said he regretted Rotem's decision. The bill was never aimed at any one particular person, he claimed, and it is only Rotem's decision to cancel the meeting - which he termed "cynical politics" - that makes it seem as if it was.

Lapid broke his media silence since announcing his move to answer questions via his Facebook page yesterday. He defended his decision to launch a new party rather than joining an existing one, among other things discussed.