Electoral-hopeful Yair Lapid used a Tuesday appearance at the Conservative Rabbinical Assembly to “congratulate” Kadima on returning “home.”
“Kadima came back to be what it has actually always has been, which is part of the Likud,” he told the Assembly in Atlanta. “They came back home and I want to use this opportunity to congratulate them on this reunification.”
Yesterday, Kadima and Likud joined in a surprise coalition, negating a prior call for an early September election in the Knesset. As a result, a new political party submitted by Lapid will have to wait more than a year for validation. The ex-television personality was gaining support for his Yesh Atid party in the last few weeks, and some analysts say he may lose steam while waiting for the next election, set for more than a year away.
If the September ballot went through as planned, Lapid was predicted to gain as many as 11 seats, making him a viable force in the house. However, Lapid said the extra time to prepare for elections would be helpful against the 94-seat alliance.
“The last person who had such a coalition was Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania,” he said. “There’s not a lot they can say against the government if they’re in the government, and we’re going to be the clear voice of the people.”
The timing made the would-be politician’s presence at the Rabbinical Assembly less pressing, though Lapid still tried to prove his relevance.
“We are now the only centrist party,” he said. “We became the sole representative of the majority of the people of Israel.”
He added: “I see a huge opportunity. This creates a big vacancy for us. We are going to unite all sane forces."
Lapid used his speech to address certain issues key to his new party, like the Tal law that allows the ultra-Orthodox an exemption from Israel’s mandatory draft. He also spoke out against the proposed Rotem law, which would give the rabbinate power over conversion.
“Israel cannot be the only country in the Western World that has no freedom of religion for Jews,” he said.