The time has come for Yair Lapid to provide answers to the public. He must stop hiding behind briefings by his friends in the media. And stop sending his party members to be interviewed in his place. It is time for him to stop hiding behind newspaper messages. His evading of questions is compounded by his very puzzling testimony regarding the Milchan Law.  In addition, it is clear to all that his desire is to topple and replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This article by Eli Tzipori in Globes (Hebrew publication) follows the first article in this series.  In them,  he raises the initial questions about Lapid’s connection to the police department.

Translation of the Article by Eli Tzipori

Lapid tries to market himself as a guardian of the public interest, a human shield against government corruption and immune to pressure. This image does not quite work out with the facts about the Milchan law. It also does not get along with Lapid’s record when he was Minister of Finance at the Finance Ministry. He was the person responsible for Israel losing billions of shekels in tax revenues. At the time he refused to sell control of ICL to the Canadian company Potash. He did so for populist reasons of “national interests” and a desire to receive applause from the media instead.

Lapid preferred his media image to the public interest, and the state of Israel lost big time. He was not happy when I wrote repeatedly about his damage to the state coffers. He continuously tried, as he always does, indirectly, to change the story. Unfortunately, he was actually quite successful in changing the reporting on the Milchan story, but there are some difficult questions about his conduct, which he cannot easily hide:

Tough Questions

Why does Lapid not give full disclosure to the public (after all, he is apparently a great believer in transparency) about the nature of his relationship with Arnon Milchan? Especially after the latter defined his relations with him as “very friendly”? Did he receive favors from him, both as a citizen and as a media personality? Was there any business cooperation between them? Did he or any of his people meet Milchan during his tenure as finance minister? If so, and according to the reports, he did meet with Milchan during his tenure as finance minister regarding the extension of the Milchan law, why did Lapid “remember” it only now?

How does Lapid explain the fact that none of the senior employees of the Finance Ministry or the Tax Authority, during his tenure as finance minister, remember or recognize any request to extend Milchan’s law? And don’t recall any discussion of the issue and the pressures exerted to extend the law? Why does Lapid repress the fact that the extension of the law was not a new issue but an option written black and white in the original law as an option to implement in the future? (Without any connection, the law itself is a scandal).

Worst of all: Lapid must explain to the public why he did not disqualify himself from dealing with his friend Milchan. Why he personally dealt with Milchan and did not include senior treasury officials. And why, according to reports, (his or the police or both) he invited Milchan to a personal meeting at the Ministry of Finance, together with a representative but not with senior Treasury officials.

Lapid presents himself as a defender of governmental corruption. So why did he not refuse to meet Milchan and instead refer him to treasury officials, in light of his personal relationship with the billionaire? And why is the media now applauding him for his strange behavior and defending him? They come across as if they are his public relations office!

Lapid and the Media

What is the relationship between Lapid and senior media personalities? He worked for the Yedioth Achronot group and he has connections with staff at Channel Two and Channel 10 journalists. Why does he get a warm, affectionate attitude without any healthy skepticism? This is clearly evident in the cover-up of Yaakov Peri’s case, which was exposed by Omri Essenheim in “Uvda.”  It is also evident in the use of Lapid’s version in background conversations about his testimony to the police. In addition to the reporting of his supreme heroism and fearless stand in the face of pressure. It is not a big secret that Lapid is careful to maintain good relations with his friends from the media. He tries to cast aside any criticism from behind the scenes. Just see the attack on the Uvda program investigation.

Why did the media deal so obsessively with the relationship between Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Kobi Maimon? Yet the close relations between Lapid and Milchan was never mentioned?

More Questions

Did the police invite Lapid to give evidence of the extension of the Milchan law? Or did Lapid invite himself to testify, defined in the publications as “key testimony?”

Can Lapid confirm the assessment that attorney Pini Rubin, the initiator of the original law, was the one who appealed to the Finance Ministry and the Tax Authority to extend the law?

As noted, Lapid’s relationship with the media is excellent.  He always knew how to glorify himself and his work as finance minister.  Why, after ostensibly blocking the extension of the law, because it is “incompatible with the national interest,” did Lapid not bother to update the media about his extraordinary activity (cynically of course) “for the sake of the national interest?”

Did Lapid tell investigators that the Tax Authority’s attempts, even during his tenure as finance minister, to cancel the exemption for reporting to returning residents, were rejected by the Absorption Ministry and failed?

The Police

Lapid must explain the alleged connection between the following facts. He hired Meirav Lapidot, today the police spokesman, to serve as his spokesperson when he served as finance minister at the Finance Ministry. Lapidot expressed her unqualified political support for Lapid and wrote: “We are with you to the end … We will choose you again and again … Your success is our success for real change and a real chance for a sane person In our country.” In the past two days, there has been a wealth of evidence and leaks that the police are fully adopting Lapid’s version of Netanyahu. Are all these connections merely a coincidence as Lapidot continues to serve Lapid’s interests in her capacity as police spokesman?