Yair Lapid claimed on Wednesday that the campaign video for Blue and White that was denounced by chareidi leaders as exploiting antisemitic stereotypes was intended merely as a joke.
“I don’t have anything to apologize for, it wasn’t meant to be offensive,” Lapid said, adding that aides of Blue and White leader Benny Gantz had cleared the video, which portrayed chareidi party heads as money-grubbing politicians.
“I sent it to the campaign managers first… they saw it, it was funny,” he said.
Lapid went so far as to say that even many chareidim who viewed it were not offended. “For every chareidi person that was outraged, there was one who laughed and actually got the joke,” he said.
He also downplayed reports of a schism within Blue and White, after Gantz and MK Moshe Yaalon disavowed the video, saying it wasn’t really their style.
“Benny is statesmanlike and levelheaded, whereas I’m a bit of a wild man,” said Lapid, who has built his political career on vilifying the chareidi community. “There’s a difference in approach between me and Benny, and that’s why it’s a good thing that we are both here.”
“There are far fewer arguments than you might think, despite tensions and all the controversies in the party leadership, Blue and White is a real success story,” Lapid was quoted as saying.
Dismay within Blue and White was reported on Tuesday, when a senior party member told The Times of Israel that Lapid was “standing between us and winning the election.”
“Lapid’s remarks are destroying our campaign,” the unnamed party official said. “After all, we don’t want to argue with anyone, only with Netanyahu. This is ‘just not Bibi.’ Do you see us arguing with [Democratic Camp candidate] Ehud Barak or [Labor leader] Amir Peretz, or even the chareidim? What is that good for?”