Quick Facts: Yair Lapid
- Born in 1963, Lapid is a former journalist and TV host who entered politics in 2012 with the founding of the center right Yesh Atid ("There Is a Future") party, which he leads. His father, who was also a prominent journalist and politician, was from what is Serbia today, immigrating to the newly established state of Israel in 1948. Lapid’s mother was a well-known writer whose father immigrated to Palestine from Romania before Israel’s establishment.
- Lapid and Yesh Atid were a key part of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government from 2013-2014, when Lapid served as finance minister. In December 2014, Netanyahu fired Lapid from his ministerial post as their coalition fell apart.
- In June 2021, Lapid became foreign minister and alternate prime minister in a coalition government with the far-right Yamina party, led by Naftali Bennett, formed to unseat Netanyahu. Under the coalition agreement, Bennett was to serve as prime minister for 18 months, followed by Lapid for 18 months. In June 2022, the coalition collapsed following the defection of several members and its failure to pass a bill to continue extending Israeli civilian law to Israeli settlers living in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians are subject to Israeli military rule.
Policies towards the Palestinians
- Two days before the 2013 Israeli election, Lapid wrote on his Facebook page that he wanted to be "rid of" Palestinians, stating: “What I want is not a new Middle East, but to be rid of them and put a tall fence between us and them,” adding that the most important thing is "to maintain a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel." The same month, he told Time magazine: “You know my father didn’t come here from the ghetto [in present-day Serbia] in order to live in a country that is half Arab, half Jewish. He came here to live in a Jewish state.”
- While Lapid claims to support a two-state solution, he believes that Israel should retain (and even expand) large so-called settlement “blocs” that divide the West Bank, making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state in the occupied territories all but impossible; that under any peace agreement Israel’s army should maintain control of the West Bank; that Israel should not relinquish control over occupied East Jerusalem, a prerequisite for the establishment of a viable Palestinian state; and that Palestinian refugees should be denied their right to return home.
- Lapid has also frequently targeted the UN agency responsible for providing aid to Palestinian refugees. In 2018, he praised the Trump administration’s decision to end humanitarian relief for Palestinian refugees, even going as far as to deny their existence and humanity.