How continental!
Lapid and Gal-On: Continental civility at its best!

Implies MK and Women’s Rights Activist is a Whore
Tommy Lapid seems to have lost it. See, Lapid is head of Shinui, a secular anti-haredi (ultra-orthodox) party. Last Monday there was an important Knesset vote on the budget. Had the budget not been approved then Sharon’s government would have been forced to call an election which in turn would have caused the Gaza disengagement to be suspended till at least 2006. Ordinarily, a party like Shinui would be expected to embrace the budget rather than put at risk the disengagement which it ought to support. Instead however, Lapid decided to be coy, and borrowing a page from the haredi parties which he ordinarily castigates, decided to hold the government hostage and withhold his badly needed support until some plum benefit was ponied up. The price of Lapid’s support turned out to be 700 million NIS to be paid to University students and cultural groups, Shinui’s presumptive constituency.

Many saw this as cynical manipulation and sure enough Lapid was roasted for his hypocrisy and lack of principles by both the right and the left. On Monday, Lapid responding to MK Zehava Gal-On’s contention that he could be bought for a price responded with an outburst that included the following implication “I don’t want to say to you what I think about her profession.”

He later added

It’s a direct response to what she said about us. I responded to her in the same manner. They tell me that now they know what our price is, and this is my answer. Anyone who doesn’t want to hear such things from me should mind their tongue.

What was shocking was that in his reaction, he used language that implied that Gal-On was a prostitute. This is a tad ironic given that Gal-On, of the left-wing opposition Yahad party, is head of a parliamentary inquiry into the sex trade industry and the traffic of women in Israel.

Lapid later apologized, which was wise given the uproar that followed his impolitic remarks. However, even his apology was not well thought out. He stated:

The story with Zehava Gal-On is just like kids’ bickering: ‘She started it … I didn’t mean to insult her and because I am a European gentleman, I’m sorry if I hurt her and retract my remarks.

He apologized because he’s a “European gentleman?” As if one has to be of European extraction in order to behave in a civil manner? Haaretz noted, vis-a-vis Shinui’s plans for the next election that

… this quintessential Ashkenazi is hoping to woo Sephardi voters. Lapid is apparently sick of being the leader of a “European” party; now, he wants Jews of Middle Eastern descent in Shinui as well.

Now I’m no political consultant, but I imagine lording over your superior Ashkenazic heritage is not a good way to attract Sepahrdi voters. Perhaps what he should have said instead was “Apologize? To hell with that! She’s lucky I don’t slap her around. Now tell her to bring me a nana tea and a plate of hummus!” The response might have been just as outraged but at least maybe he’d get a couple extra Sephardic votes. In the meantime, I sit back and watch sadly as the secularists and the left beat each other up. Why can’t we all just get along people?

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • Hey, ck, good post.

    It’s not just the Left beating each other up. Or did you miss what the Gaza settlers called Mr. Bassi who heads the disengagement for Mr. Sharon?

  • Is Shinui considered part of the “left?” I wouldn’t have thought so. I tend to like Shinui more than the other parties, but the lack of decorum sometimes exhibited by their leadership troubles me.

  • Shinui is a secular party whose main platform is that it seeks to free Israel from the grip of minority religioud/haredi parties. In that respect it has attracted voters away from both right-wing and left-wing parties. It is also perceived as an overwhelmingly ashkenazic party with a strong left-wing bent. Yahad, on the other hand, is a firmly left-wing party.

  • I thought another major part of Shinui was that it seeks to end/reverse socialism in Israel. They probably don’t put it so bluntly, but market liberalization, etc. means the same thing. To me, that is usually associated with the right more than the left.

  • I wouldn’t say they are of the Left. I think ck has it right when he says they have a bent to the left.

  • Lapid used to be an outspoken right-winger, and two of their bloc could not be seen as hypocrites and voted for the refrendum against party disicpline even though it was doomed.

    When they ran for election, I only gave them credit for not wanting to get into the ‘political/security’ issue, and they tried to remain centre. But nothing can hide that in their first knesset seesion, they voted against providing miluimnikim better benefits and from then on everyone knew that they were hypocritical liars and just as dirty like the other parties they criticized for corruption.

    The current scandal being swept under the carpet is that a large part of the 700million shekels that Lapid blackmailed Sharon for is earmarked for higher eduacation, namely universities, but also for ‘non-funded’ ‘private’ colleges one of whom none other than the president of the Shinui party is heads. It aslo should be mentioned that these ‘non-funded’ ‘private’ colleges (who are licensed to hand out academic degrees) historically never asked for any money in order for them to keep their independance in providing a great education for rich kids that can afford the more than double priced education.

    I don’t even have to mention that their platform is racist.