The Spin Room Panel Is There Real Alternative To Netanyahu


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Title : The Spin Room Panel: Is There Real Alternative to Netanyahu?
Description : THE SPIN ROOM | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under intense fire from critics and opponents in the past few months over corruptions allegations. Are his critics offering an alternative ideology or policy in criticizing him or is it just empty lambasting? Haaretz newspaper columnist Gideon Levy and Israel Hayom newspaper Editor in Chief Boaz Bismuth debate.


Yair Lapid, leader of Israel’s centrist Yesh Atid party, said Wednesday that a pre-election indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of bribery and corruption would rock the Israeli political arena and could pave the way for his party’s electoral victory.

Polls conducted in the run-up to the April 9 vote have consistently put Lapid’s Yesh Atid trailing well behind Netanyahu’s Likud. But Lapid said a pre-election indictment could change everything.

‘Israel is a complicated country with complicated challenges and we cannot afford having a prime minister that is preoccupied mostly with his legal issues,’ Lapid told i24NEWS in an English-language interview via Skype.

‘I think that the minute there is an indictment the whole scenery is changed and we can win the election...The people of Israel, it is not within their values to have a prime minister that has been indicted for serious, very serious issues,’ he said.

Police have recommended Netanyahu's indictment in three separate corruption investigations and the attorney general is expected to announce his decision on whether to indict the premier in the weeks or months ahead.

Netanyahu has pushed back against the allegations, claiming in an extraordinary televised statement on Monday that the country’s legal system was being used to perpetrate an injustice against him, and decrying that he was twice refused permission to confront state witnesses in the cases.

And while Netanyahu has managed to maintain a strong lead in the polls, the possibility of a strong centrist alliance is becoming a growing threat as political stalwarts like Lapid and wildcard challengers like former I.D.F. chief Benny Gantz narrow the gap.

‘There will be a concentration of power...of the people who are unhappy with the way this country is going and the way, especially, this government is going,’ Lapid said of prospective center-left alliances.

Lapid did not rule out the possibility of teaming up with Gantz’s ‘Israeli Resilience’ party or others ‘as long as they are talking about the same values that we are talking about, which is bringing Israel back to sanity and the kind of values that founded this country.’

Gantz, however has been notoriously tight-lipped about the platform his new party is running on, and his silence has become a point of criticism for political rivals.

‘The main point of politics is expressing your views. I think it’s okay that he’s taking his time but there’s no way for him to move along...without expressing clear and specific views about the values and the problems of the country,’ Lapid said of the former I.D.F. chief’s radio-silence.

The former finance minister told i24NEWS that the his party’s primary aim is to rescue Israel from a ‘corrupt process’ in which money is being used to fund politics and not those issues that matter most to the average Israeli.

‘We’re going to take the money from the politicians and give it to the people,’ Lapid said.

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