Lapid: Everything Is Stuck and the Prime Minister Just Stands Aside

Jonathan Lis
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Netanyahu and Lapid during a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, November 10, 2014.Credit: Mark Israel
Jonathan Lis

"Everything is stuck and the prime minister just stands on the side," Finance Minister Yair Lapid said on Saturday in a blistering attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"Housing is stuck, the budget is stuck and our international relations are deteriorating," Lapid said during a symposium in Tel Aviv.

"Instead of passing the budget and dealing with all the problems, they're dealing with petty politics," the finance minister continued. "And what will we do after the elections?"

Responding to Lapid's criticism, a senior Likud source said: "There's no limit to Lapid's hypocrisy."

Referring to the coalition crisis, Lapid said that "all that has to happen for the crisis to be solved is for each of us to involve ourselves in what is important, rather than in politics.

"Israel doesn't need elections; it needs us to pass a social budget, to deal with housing, to deal with the cost of living; to work for the citizens."

Lapid's explanation for the standstill in government was that "as far as they're concerned, it's impossible to pass the state budget until they get the go-ahead from three well-connected members of the [Likud] central committee."

The government, he added, "needs to deal with what is important and not rubbish. What's going on now is that we're dealing with rubbish."

What Netanyahu needs to do, the finance minister said, is "decide that he doesn't want elections, pass the budget and inform his party that the corruption party is over. The budget that they're opposing now is the same budget that they voted for in the cabinet. I don't understand how the party in power doesn't want to pass a budget and housing plan that it voted for."

Likud sources responded that Lapid was being hypocritical. "On the one hand he talks about new politics, while on the other he indulges in old politics in all its ugliness.

"After failing to manage the economy, he now wants to pass a budget that weakens the Israel Defense Forces and security, and a plan that doesn't reduce housing prices."

The Likud sources also accused Lapid of approaching the ultra-Orthodox parties secretly in an "attempted putsch."

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