Lapid: PM’s ties to Christians risk US support
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not doing enough to maintain Israel’s bipartisan support in the US, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid warned on Thursday.
“The fact that this government is totally identified with the conservative, evangelical branch of the Republican Party is dangerous,” Lapid said in an interview with Walla News.
After the dedication of the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, Lapid said he spoke with Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Florida), who had been asked to join the American delegation and declined. In fact, only Republican members of Congress took part in the festivities.
“There’s no way the government of Israel didn’t know,” Lapid said. “It’s the Prime Minister’s Office’s job to look at the lists and say, we should have a bipartisan status [in the US], we’re not just connected to Republicans.”
If a Democrat wins the 2020 presidential election, or if Congress swings Democratic, “the party has scores to settle with us since 2015, mainly with Netanyahu,” Lapid said, referring to the prime minister’s 2015 speech to both houses of Congress opposing the Iran nuclear deal pushed by then-US president Barack Obama.
“If I’m prime minister, it won’t be a problem, but if it’s Netanyahu, it’s a serious problem,” he added.
Lapid acknowledged that the current connection with conservative Republicans comes from the government’s close ties with US President Donald Trump, but said that is a short-sighted strategy.
He also pointed out that the vast majority of American Jews vote Democrat.
The Yesh Atid chairman denied that he would join forces with Labor in the next national election.
“Labor is a left-wing party, and we are centrist. In the last two years, only one thing was clear. There are two competitors on the court, Yesh Atid and the Likud. Me versus Netanyahu. There are no other competitors,” Lapid said.