Lapid: Netanyahu can be replaced without elections

Opposition leader, yearning to become prime minister, says there are enough seats to replace the Netanyahu-led government without elections.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid, head of the Opposition, said Sunday that his party will table a no-confidence motion in the Knesset, claiming there was no need for new elections because enough Knesset members are ready to form a replacement government without Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“There is a new model [by which] it is possible to replace the government and get Netanyahu out of Balfour without elections,” Lapid told Radio 103 FM, referring to the prime minister’s official residence on Balfour Street in central Jerusalem.

“The Israeli public says you cannot manage a crisis this way,” Lapid said. “The public says I am willing to vote for anything but not for the prime minister. That is 70 seats that say Netanyahu has failed in managing the corona crisis, in managing the economy and health.”

Following inconclusive elections in April, Netanyahu finally managed to cobble together a national unity government, which since taking office in May has been plagued by infighting between the eight parties that give it 72 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

Even though the Yesh Atid leader’s own coalition of three parties was torn apart when Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party decided to side with Netanyahu, Lapid says he is the man to lead the country.

“I am the right candidate to be prime minister, I am the head of the camp facing Netanyahu. Anyone who does not want Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister should stand behind Yesh Atid,” Lapid said.

Lapid cited statistics that show one in every five businesses might go under due to the economic crisis. He dismissed recent polls that show a surge in support for the right-wing Yamina party of Naftali Bennett.

“The feeling is that Bennett will enter Netanyahu’s government if they only ask him to. Therefore, I am not worried about polls when there is no election date,” Lapid said.

Keren Terner Eyal, a top Finance Ministry official, announced Sunday that she was stepping down, but she did not explain her reason. Several other senior Treasury officials have recently resigned.

With Israel’s once robust economy reeling under the pandemic, Lapid blames Netanyahu for their departure, saying that “before everything falls apart on our heads, Netanyahu must leave.”