Lapid reportedly offers No. 2 slot to religious leader

Lapid reportedly offers No. 2 slot to religious leader

Rabbi Shai Piron set to play second fiddle in Yesh Atid party; Livni may join as well

Yesh Atid party founder Yair Lapid  (photo credit: Meir Partush/Flash 90)
Yesh Atid party founder Yair Lapid (photo credit: Meir Partush/Flash 90)

Rabbi Shai Piron has joined Yair Lapid in the No. 2 slot in the Yesh Atid party list, Channel 10 reported on Sunday. Piron is the head of the Petah Tikva Yeshiva Institutions and the executive director of the non-profit organization Hakol Hinuch (It’s All Education), the Movement for the Advancement of Education in Israel. In 2004 he was a member of the Dovrat Commission on educational reform.

Lapid is expected to announce the complete party list in the coming days.

Lapid has also been in contact with former Kadima party head Tzipi Livni; they have considered forming a joint ticket should polls indicate the possibility of defeating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming elections, Channel 2 reported.

Several possible scenarios regarding Livni have been rumored in recent days. Israeli media reported on Sunday that former Labor and Kadima MK Haim Ramon has been working to bring her and former prime minister Ehud Olmert back together.

Olmert’s return to politics remained questionable as of Sunday, however, with Israel Radio reporting that he was expected in the coming days to announce his decision not to run in the upcoming elections. Israel Radio also cited political speculation that Livni would announce the formation of a new center-left party later this week.

The announcement of Piron as Lapid’s second-in-command comes on the heels of former Shin Bet head Yaakov Peri joining the party last week. Many expected Peri to be named the party No. 2 but, according to Channel 10, he will serve as the party’s senior security figure.

On Monday, two more people joined Yesh Atid, from opposite ends of the political spectrum: Yael German, who has served as the mayor of Hezliya since 1998, and Meir Cohen, who has been the mayor of the southern development town of Dimona since 2003. German was elected on the dovish Meretz ticket, while Cohen is a member of the right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party.

Last Thursday, Haaretz released a poll that indicated a centrist “super-party” (consisting of Lapid, Livni and Olmert) would win more seats than Netanyahu’s Likud party, but would fail to topple the right-wing bloc needed to replace the ruling coalition. That same day, Lapid announced that such a party would never come into being, saying that politicians convicted of crimes committed while they were in office (as Olmert was) should not return to political life.

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