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Lapid in first speech after getting mandate: Unity government isn’t a compromise, ‘it’s a goal’

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid gives his first speech since being tasked yesterday by President Reuven Rivlin with forming a new government.

“I told the president, an Israeli unity government isn’t a compromise, it’s a goal,” he says.

Referring to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech yesterday lashing out at his political rivals, Lapid says, “that’s exactly what we want to change.”

“We’ve had enough of anger and of hate. We’ve argued enough. Israel is hurting and it needs quiet, it needs unity, and it really needs a functioning government,” he says. “Israel is tired of fighting. Israeli society is looking to its politicians and asking when will they stop arguing and start working? Our answer is, now.”

While acknowledging the difficulties in forming a unity government, Lapid says “it will have a simple goal: to take the country out of this crisis. The coronavirus crisis, the economic crisis, the political crisis and mostly the crisis within us, within the people of Israel.”

He says “internal arguments” are making it more difficult to address security challenges and to improve the economy and education system.

“If we manage to form a government then it will also treat the opposition differently. We won’t attack or belittle. We’ll respect them and we will deal with the challenges faced by those who didn’t vote for us,” he says.

Noting his prospective ruling partner Naftali Bennett’s remark yesterday that a unity government will prevent fifth elections, Lapid says that is only part of it.

“The main aim, the main challenge, is to start something different – cleaner, decent and which actually works,” he says.

Referring to the mix of parties that would be part of the unity government, Lapid acknowledges they are “different people with different views but the fact that someone doesn’t agree with us doesn’t make them an enemy.”

He also says he isn’t looking to focus on the past.

“We’re not here to fight about the past but for the future. Whoever wants to fight and be angry can do that. We prefer to get to work for the Israeli public,” he says.

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