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Stumping for secularism, Lapid says incoming coalition creating a ‘halachic state’

Carrie Keller-Lynn is a political and legal correspondent for The Times of Israel

Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid charges that the incoming government’s policy positions forget that Israel is a Jewish state, not a “halachic state.”

Addressing policies pushed by the religious parties expected to be part of the Likud-headed coalition, Lapid says that in the forming government “yeshiva students will receive more money than IDF soldiers. [Religious Zionism head] Smotrich wants to close soccer matches on Shabbat. A law will be passed to separate men and women in the public sphere.”

Speaking at his Yesh Atid party’s Monday faction meeting, Lapid turns to right-wing Likud’s more than a million voters and asks, “Is this what you wanted? That’s why you voted for Likud?”

“You are going to be a minority in this government. A minority of those serving in the army, a minority of the middle class, a minority of those who believe in a moderate Jewish tradition that welcomes every person,” he adds.

Lapid has said that he will sit in the opposition rather than again join hands with Netanyahu, and his party denied reports last week that it was quietly negotiating to form a unity government with Likud to boot out extremist Religious Zionism, Otzma Yehudit, and Noam.

“If someone asks where we will be – we will be here in the Knesset day and night, we will be in the streets, we will be in the town squares, we will be on the bridges. We will not be silent, we will not disappear, we will not give up, we are fighting for the future of our children,” he adds.

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