Barak, Lapid Trade Barbs

YERUSHALAYIM -
(Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Former prime minister Ehud Barak’s recent entry into the election campaign has proved an irritant not only to his main target, incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, but also to certain other political figures—such as Yair Lapid.

Barak on Monday charged that Lapid, the Blue and White party’s Number 2, was the Number 1 reason they didn’t win the April elections.

“Lapid is the main reason Blue and White didn’t win — he’s a shiny wrapper for the party,” Barak told the Kan public broadcaster.

Lapid retorted that any votes for Barak’s Israel Democratic party in September would be the equivalen of ballots just “thrown in the trash,” because the party wouldn’t clear the Knesset electoral threshold.

“He will throw 100,000 votes in the trash,” Lapid said on Monday in response to Barak. “Now is not the time [to form] political parties as a hobby.”

Earlier this week, Barak’s party criticized the deal between Lapid and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz to rotate the premiership if they form the next government. According to the party’s internal studies, Kan reported, such a scheme could cost center-left bloc two Knesset seats in the September elections.

Barak’s Israel Democratic has been polling at between four and eight seats in the polls.

Barak has been agitating for a united bloc of center-left parties, including Labor, Meretz, and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

The flareup on Monday was not new. Last month, Lapid trashed the idea of combining with Barak in the campaign, on the grounds the ex-Labor party head was “part of the left.”

Barak’s party responded by saying that it “is imperative that central figures refrain from echoing Netanyahu’s divisive comments and focus on the effort to replace him.”