‘I am a decent man’ – Lapid slams unity gov’t rumors

Yair Lapid says that as a “decent person,” he can’t agree to join a broad unity government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Opposition leader and head of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid squashed rumors that he would join a unity government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming that such a move would be unacceptable.

Recent Hebrew-language media reports speculated that both the Biden administration and some members of the Likud party, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, are pressuring Netanyahu to drop the Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties from the ruling coalition and bring Yesh Atid and the National Unity parties into the fold.

Speaking to Ynet, Lapid said that such a possibility was off the table “while Netanyahu is there.”

When asked why he couldn’t entertain the idea of a broad unity government, Lapid sniped that he couldn’t consider the prospect “because I am a decent man, and that would be the death of decency.”

He claimed that he was willing “to set up a coalition with Likud, but it’s impossible with Netanyahu,” adding that the premier “has lost all concern with the national interest; he is only concerned with his own interests.”

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The lawmaker also slammed the possibility of a peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel that would allow the Gulf kingdom to launch its own U.S.-supervised nuclear program.

“There is no Israeli prime minister, and I hope that includes Netanyahu, who would be able to agree to such a thing,” Lapid told Ynet.

“It’s totally against Israel’s strategy, which we have upheld all these years… We will not agree to any countries in the region enriching uranium,” he continued.

“Uranium enrichment on Saudi soil would push the whole Middle East into a nuclear race. Israel can’t agree to this.”

The Biden administration and European Union, along with American Jewish advocacy groups, have publicly called for the Likud party to attempt to reach a compromise with opposition parties regarding the judicial overhaul.

However, Lapid recently demanded that Netanyahu commit to freezing all reform legislation until 2025 as conditions for returning to negotiations regarding the measures.