Lapid: PM’s ties to Christians risk US sup­port

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By LAHAV HARKOV

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.

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