JERUSALEM (JTA) – Yair Lapid, a veteran Israeli journalist, and the father of Gilad Shalit are entering politics.
It is expected that Lapid, who announced Sunday that he is leaving his position as news anchor for Israel’s Channel 2, will form his own independent party with a liberal bent.
The following day Noam Shalit said he would be running for a place on the Labor Party list for the next Knesset elections. For more than five years he fought for the release of his soldier son Gilad from captivity in Gaza. Gilad Shalit was freed in October.
“Following years of a public battle, during which I got to know Israel society deeply, both its beautiful and ethical sides, I have decided to join public life,” he told reporters.
Lapid left his job, with no election on the horizon, just days before the Knesset Law Committee is scheduled to vote on a bill that would institute a six-month to one-year cooling-off period for journalists before they can be elected. The measure has been nicknamed the Yair Lapid Bill.
Lapid also has a weekly column in the Yediot Achronot daily newspaper.
Lapid’s late father, Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, left journalism to head the liberal-secular Shinui Party. His mother is author Shulamit Lapid.
Polls have shown that a Lapid-led party could garner the second most votes in a Knesset election, behind Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and that it would likely take the most votes away from the Kadima Party.
Several current members of Israel’s Knesset are former journalists, including the current chairman of the Labor Party, Shelly Yachimovich.