Israel: Political Earthquake as Popular Journalist, Anchor Lapid Announces Political Career
A long-time popular figure in Israeli media, Yair Lapid - the son of late Minister “Tommy” Lapid, founder of the now defunct “Shinui” secular party and Justice Minister under Ariel Sharon - is expected to form new secular-oriented party. This contradicts previous predictions that he would join one of the existing political parties, with polls showing the potential for forming a coalition that would rival the Likud party headed by Benyamin Netanyahu.
Veteran Israeli journalist Yair Lapid announced Sunday he was leaving his longtime news anchor position at Channel 2 in order to compete in the next Israeli elections.
According to Channel 2, Lapid informed CEO Avi Weiss of his departure in order to enter the ‘public realm.’ Weiss expressed regret over Lapid’s departure, but said he understood the decision.
Yair Lapid posted a response on his Facebook page and called on his followers to recruit for his up-and-coming political campaign.
“I’m embarking on a new path. I am equipped with the power of knowing that I am doing something that I believe in. You are my community, and I draw strength from you. I promise to post updates here and continue to listen to you.”
It is unclear at this point which political party Lapid will seek to run under, although it is believed he will seek to run under a newly-established independent party.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) welcomed Lapid’s decision, saying that more people should join politics in order to ‘make positive change in Israel.’
Shelly Yachimovich (Labor), who had previously worked with Lapid on his Channel 2 news show, called Lapid a ‘person of substance’ but stated that his entrance into politics would only strengthen those with ‘right-wing conservative views.’
Several recent surveys forecasted that a Lapid-led party could garner between 15 and 20 mandates in the Knesset.
A recent poll stated that a party headed by Lapid would become the second largest party in the Knesset.