‘No­body likes a snitch’: Likud tar­gets Lapid

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By LA­HAV HARKOV

Prom­i­nent Likud MKs went af­ter Yesh Atid chair­man Yair Lapid on Wed­nes­day, af­ter he was re­vealed as a cen­tral wit­ness in one of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tions against Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu.

Coali­tion chair­man David Am­salem slammed Lapid, quot­ing from the Amida prayer: “May there be no hope for the in­form­ers.”

“I was taught when I was a kid, don’t snitch, no one will ever want to sit with you,” Am­salem said dur­ing the bud­get de­bate in the Knes­set on Tues­day night. “You’re a pa­thetic snitch! Aren’t you ashamed?”

Lapid re­sponded on Wed­nes­day, say­ing he “heard the prime min­is­ter and the group sur­round­ing him, in­clud­ing the coali­tion chair­man and min­is­ters, who dared sug­gest that there is an op­tion not to tell the truth when the po­lice ask you to help them un­cover what re­ally hap­pened in a se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“That’s how crim­i­nals talk, not pub­lic ser­vants,” Lapid said.

The Yesh Atid leader told Ne­tanyahu’s sup­port­ers not to threaten him: “We can’t be in­tim­i­dated. We will not let you make this a coun­try where hon­est peo­ple are scared of telling the truth.”

A Likud spokesman said that Lapid should “stop whin­ing and try­ing to dis­tract from the sim­ple ques­tion: How, as fi­nance min­is­ter, did he hold meet­ings with his close friend and for­mer em­ployer Arnon Milchan [who is at the cen­ter of one of Ne­tanyahu’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions] and wasn’t ques­tioned [by po­lice] un­der cau­tion for it?”

Ear­lier on Wed­nes­day, Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Tzipi Ho­tovely called it “the most ab­surd thing that the po­lice’s cen­tral wit­ness is a man who wants to re­place Ne­tanyahu as prime min­is­ter.

“If Yair Lapid wants to re­place Ne­tanyahu, he should earn the pub­lic’s trust and not do it through the po­lice. We are here to pro­tect Is­raeli democ­racy,” she said, in both a speech be­fore the Knes­set Wed­nes­day and a video posted on her Face­book soon there­after.

Cul­ture and Sport Min­is­ter Miri Regev re­ferred to a poster of a guil­lo­tine that was waved at the weekly Satur­day night anti-cor­rup­tion demon­stra­tions in Tel Aviv, say­ing: “Lapid is known as some­one who wants to re­place the prime min­is­ter. He didn’t suc­ceed in an elec­tion, and he joined those... who want to take off Ne­tanyahu’s head.”

Knes­set In­te­rior Com­mit­tee chair­man Yoav Kisch, whose panel deals with po­lice is­sues, also set his sights on the Yesh Atid chair­man, calling it a “new, bizarre sit­u­a­tion in which the ‘key wit­ness’ against [Ne­tanyahu] is Yair Lapid, a cur­rent po­lit­i­cal ri­val try­ing to take the prime min­is­ter’s place.

“Do the mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion want to live in a coun­try where po­lice­men are in­ves­ti­ga­tor, pros­e­cu­tor and judge?” Kisch won­dered. “I don’t.”

Health Min­is­ter Ya’acov Litz­man, of United To­rah Ju­daism, also slammed Lapid, ac­cus­ing him of an “at­tempted putsch.”

MK Mickey Levy of Yesh Atid, a for­mer Jerusalem po­lice chief, re­sponded sharply to the ac­cu­sa­tions against Lapid, say­ing that Am­salem’s com­ments “re­minded me of con­ver­sa­tions within crime fam­i­lies.

“It’s sad to me to see that, in the eyes of a se­nior MK, tes­ti­fy­ing to the po­lice as part of a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion is an in­ap­pro­pri­ate act of ‘snitch­ing,’” Levy lamented. “Lapid was asked to tes­tify, and that is what he did. That is what is ex­pected of any law-abid­ing cit­i­zen when law en­force­ment turns to him.”

MK Yael Ger­man, also of Yesh Atid, said, “The at­tempt to turn Lapid into the cen­tral is­sue is noth­ing more than po­lit­i­cal spin.”

Zion­ist Union MK Tzipi Livni also came to Lapid’s de­fense.

“The threats to Lapid, who ful­filled his civic duty and tes­ti­fied to the po­lice when he was asked to, and the shouts of ‘Snitch’ and ‘No one will sit with you’ are ob­struc­tion of jus­tice and part of the or­ches­trated cam­paign to save Ne­tanyahu at the price of de­stroy­ing democ­racy. To­day there are only two sides: those who pro­tect the rule of law, and those de­stroy­ing it,” Livni said.

(Marc Is­rael Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

YESH ATID chair­man Yair Lapid. He is a cen­tral wit­ness in the po­lice case against the prime min­is­ter.

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