Lapid Hints He Is Heading to the Opposition, Yesh Atid Sources Say

The centrist party expects to be strengthened by not joining a government ‘of the radical right wing and ultra-Orthodox.’

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Yair Lapid casts his ballot in the 2015 election.
Yair Lapid casts his ballot in the 2015 election.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Yarden Skop
Yarden Skop

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid has not spoken to Benjamin Netanyahu since the prime minister’s election victory Tuesday, but this might not matter because Lapid has hinted he may be heading for the opposition, Yesh Atid sources say.

The sources said Wednesday that party activists were simply waiting for a Yesh Atid meeting to discuss future steps.

They called the party’s 11-seat showing a significant achievement for a centrist party only three years old; they said they had established a solid voter base. In the January 2013 election, Yesh Atid won 19 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. Lapid became Netanyahu's finance minister.

Party sources said they did not fear being in the opposition, a move that could let Yesh Atid remain loyal to its principles such a shrinking the cabinet to 18 ministers and getting more ultra-Orthodox Jews to serve in the miliary.

During the election campaign the party said it would not join a Netanyahu-led coalition “of the radical right wing and ultra-Orthodox.” It now says joining such a coalition could harm it in the long run.

On Tuesday night Lapid implied that the party may be heading for the opposition. “Tomorrow morning we continue to fight for you. Tomorrow morning we continue to fight against the corruption, the extortion, the politics of factionalism,” Lapid said on Facebook and in his speech after exit-poll results were released.

“Such a vision isn’t realized in a year or two. It’s a path. Even if it’s long, we’ll march on it until we get there, until we bring Israel to the place it should be.”

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