In an interview with Hadashot’s “Six” news show, MK Yair Lapid, who heads the Yesh Atid party, claimed Netanyahu is using public funds to smear him in the media.

Lapid in the interview on Hadashot

Lapid in the interview on Hadashot Photo Credit: Hadashot screenshot

In an interview conducted today on Hadashot news, Member of Knesset Yair Lapid, who currently heads the Yesh Atid political party, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of running a smear campaign against him in the media and hinted that Netanyahu may be using public funds to do so. Lapid, who is a vocal member of the opposition to Netanyahu’s government, also claimed that “there are only two alternatives: Netanyahu or Me; Likud or Yesh Atid.”

Lapid stated that “there are two Netanyahus, one of whom is taking great strides to get Iranian forces out of Syria, and I support that, and at the end of the day, I will give him a tailwind. The problem is that the same Netanyahu sits in the night and writes posts on Facebook against Israeli citizens, tearing apart and dividing this country.” Lapid went on to claim that Netanyahu is creating a situation in which the two no longer have any joint goals.

When asked what he would do differently than Netanyahu about the situation in Gaza, Lapid stated that “the big problem the government has is that it has no strategy regarding Gaza.” Lapid stated that the long-term strategy in Gaza should be to “exchange the independence of Gaza for peace” and that Iranian presence in Gaza should be replaced by Saudi Arabia. Lapid also added that when it came to the use of force against Hamas forces in Gaza, Netanyahu is “further to the right than the government.”

Netanyahu’s administration, which is considered to be one of the most right-wing Israeli administrations in recent years, has increased Israel’s response to unrest in Gaza, using live fire and air strikes on protesters and terrorists. Lapid claimed that in his view, the entire capabilities of the IDF should be used to combat Hamas forces in Gaza.

Lapid also claimed that a priority for Israeli strategy in Gaza should be remedying the humanitarian crises Gaza residents face. When asked why Israel should fix a humanitarian crisis caused by Hamas, Lapid responded that “there is no question who is at fault here. Hamas is at fault, and Gaza’s residents are at fault for voting for Hamas. But even though they are at fault, it does not mean that this is not Israel’s problem too.” Lapid went on to give an example of how Gaza’s humanitarian crises affect Israel, stating that “every day 100 million liters of sewage float from Gaza to Ashkelon, where Israel’s largest desalination plant is located. It’s not a nice thought to think about what we drink there.” Yair concluded that “a crisis in Gaza is a problem for us as well, and through this crisis, we have to create an opportunity to drive a wedge between Hamas and the population.”