TEL AVIV (JTA) — Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid promised on Facebook to advance civil unions and push for a regional peace accord should he serve in Israel’s next government.
Answering questions from English speakers, Lapid on Tuesday called for an Israeli delegation to attend the Arab League summit in March. He wrote that his centrist party supports a regional peace agreement that guarantees Israel’s security and includes major West Bank settlement blocs in Israel’s borders.
He noted that the Arab League meeting will be the first chaired by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is chairing.
“Israel should be there to make the case for a regional agreement which guarantees our security,” Lapid wrote.
Yesh Atid served in the governing coalition headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that was dissoved last month in acrimony. While Lapid did not rule out joining a left- or right-wing coalition, he said he hopes Netanyahu does not win another term.
“We will do all we can to make sure Netanyahu isn’t prime minister after these elections,” he wrote. “The process of building a coalition should take place after the elections and depends on the choices the Israeli voters make. Governing isn’t about personality, it’s about serving the best interests of the Israeli public.”
Lapid stressed the importance of maintaining strong relations with the United States, saying “Israel has no more important strategic ally.” He added that any disagreements between the countries should not be made public.
He said Yesh Atid would continue to try to advance a bill instituting civil unions in Israel, which currently allows only Orthodox marriage for Jews. Lapid wrote that his previous attempts at the civil unions bill were blocked by the modern Orthodox Jewish Home party, which also served in the governing coalition.
“We were in the process of putting forward legislation for civil unions for all couples,” he wrote. “We plan to work hard on this issue in the next Knesset because it’s something we as a party care deeply about.”