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Coalition officials slam Lapid’s ‘reckless’ campaign, call him a ‘cannibalistic pig’

Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid arrives to address supporters at campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv early on November 2, 2022, after the end of voting for national elections. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid arrives to address supporters at campaign headquarters in Tel Aviv early on November 2, 2022, after the end of voting for national elections. (JACK GUEZ / AFP)

Officials in Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s governing coalition slam him for his election campaign, as exit polls and initial results show Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-religious bloc winning a majority of the seats in the Knesset.

“Lapid acted recklessly, did not manage the bloc, did not take care of the Arabs, did not take care of the surplus agreements,” unnamed officials are cited by Channel 12 news as saying. Surplus agreements allow parties that cross the electoral threshold to share votes, potentially adding a seat to one of the parties in the agreement.

“[He] behaved like a cannibalistic pig who came to eliminate [other parties] in order to be the biggest party, and here is the result,” the officials say of Lapid.

According to exit polls, the Labor party in Lapid’s bloc is predicted to win between 5 and 6 seats, while Meretz is predicted to win 4-5, close to the 3.25 percent vote minimum needed to win Knesset representation.

The Islamist Ra’am party, also part of the coalition, is projected to win 4 seats.

The opposition Arab party Balad is hovering just beneath the electoral threshold, according to the exit polls. Should it squeak into the Knesset, it would swing four seats away from the other parties, and could conceivably leave both the Netanyahu bloc and the outgoing coalition bloc short of a majority. Channel 12’s pollster has said that Meretz is perilously close to the threshold, however, and might slip below it.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid party meanwhile will take 22-24 seats according to the exit polls, becoming the second largest party behind Netanyahu’s Likud, which is predicted to take 30-31 seats.

During the campaign, Lapid largely directed voters to support his Yesh Atid party, and not the smaller factions in his coalition. Labor refused Meretz’s entreaties to agree to a merger, putting both at risk of not making it into the Knesset.

The Arab Joint List, which is not aligned with either bloc, broke apart into Hadash-Ta’al and Balad ahead of the election, diluting the Arab vote and giving an edge to Netanyahu.

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