Lapid: Incoming gov’t ‘not committed to democracy,’ ‘dismantles foundations of Israeli society’

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid gives an address to the nation, warning about the incoming coalition, December 22, 2022. (Channel 12 screenshot)
Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid gives an address to the nation, warning about the incoming coalition, December 22, 2022. (Channel 12 screenshot)

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid delivers a bleak and bitter address, warning against the agenda of successor Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition, saying the Likud leader is weak and beholden to extremist partners who will send the country down the road to ruin.

“The government being formed here is dangerous, extremist, irresponsible. This will end badly,” he charges in a televised address, saying he is speaking out of “profound concern for the future of Israeli society.”

Lapid says that “Netanyahu is weak, and [his partners] have created the most extreme government in the nation’s history.”

“Likud didn’t form the government. They did,” he says.

The incoming coalition is the government that Otzma Yehudit’s Itamar Ben Gvir, Religious Zionism’s Bezalel Smotrich and Shas’s Arye Deri “have imposed on him.”

“They’ve established the most extreme government in the history of the state,” he says. This government “dismantles the foundations of Israeli society.”

Moving into specifics, Lapid says “the coalition agreements give an ultra-Orthodox student who doesn’t learn math and English thousands of shekels more than a student in the state education system.”

A yeshiva student who doesn’t serve in the IDF or work, meanwhile, will get more money than an IDF soldier, he says. “It’s a fire sale of Israel’s future.”

Lapid says the IDF “will be harmed… Ministers will appoint political generals who will sit on the General Staff. The defense minister will lose his authority over the Civil Administration. And in Judea and Samaria… it’s not clear who will be responsible for what. It’s a recipe for an explosion.”

Regarding incoming police minister Ben Gvir, Lapid declares: “Show me a state in the world where the man responsible for the police is a violent criminal with 53 indictments and 8 convictions for serious offenses.”

As for the Education Ministry, he says Avi Maoz, head of the Noam faction, “a dark racist, a man who, it was today publicized, has blacklists of LGBTQ people and activists in women’s organizations, will be in charge of the education of our children.” Young parents will not be able to send their children to school without fear that they will be brainwashed, he charges.

He says Israel’s international standing will be damaged, including in the struggle against Iran. It won’t be able to prevent sanctions against Israel, he says.

“This is the first government in the history of Israel that the United States does not regard as its closest ally,” he adds.

He says the incoming government will lead to the stalling of the high-tech engine that drives the Israeli economy. It will preside over an economy that “encourages people not to work, wastes billions of shekels on sectoral demands.” The cost of living will rise and rise, he warns.

The coalition will also harm “the Jews of the world,” he says. Reform and Conservative Jews, a decisive majority of the American Jewish community, “will not be able to regard Israel as their second homeland.” Planned changes to the Law of Return “will put an end to the welcome immigration wave from Russia and Ukraine.”

He says the new government “is not committed to democracy, is not committed to the rule of law, and now it is trying to silence the opposition. They tell us, ‘Accept the results of the election.’ When we won the elections [last year], they pursued the children of Knesset members on the way to school, sent thugs to attack our activists… churned out toxic lies and slurs to delegitimize the government. We won’t do any of that, but we will fight for our country from every place and every platform,” he vows.

Lapid promises to battle from the opposition for the rule of law and the rights of women, the LGBT community, “IDF values,” education and “tolerant Jewish identity,” while calling on citizens to also take part in the struggle.

“Be on guard against a dangerous, extreme and irresponsible government, with a weak prime minister who has lost control even before being sworn in.”

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