Lapid Campaign Bill Gets Initial Nod

Bill requiring Knesset candidates to set up political party within two weeks of announcing candidacy passes initial reading; target thought to be Yair Lapid, who has not yet established a party.

A bill that would require Knesset candidates to set up a political party within two weeks of announcing their candidacy passed its preliminary reading yesterday.

The bill's main target is widely thought to be television personality Yair Lapid, who has thrown his hat into the ring but has not yet established a party - and is therefore not bound by campaign finance laws, which apply only to parties.

Yair Lapid  - Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

The bill's sponsor, MK Yariv Levin (Likud ), said as much yesterday, telling the Knesset: "People say this is a personal bill directed against Yair Lapid. I say to you, Yair Lapid, don't wait for the law ... Tell the country where the money comes from, who your donors are. There is not one road for you, in which you maintain secrecy, and one for MKs, who maintain full transparency." Levin said he feared that without the law, wealthy individuals could invest in candidates without the public knowing about it.

But he promised to "do everything possible to minimize the damage to a person's ability to act without incorporating" as a party. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voted in favor of the bill. MK Dov Khenin (Hadash ) opposed it, saying that though he is a political opponent of Lapid's, "the Knesset should not be a closed club."