JERUSALEM (JTA) – Yair Lapid, leader of the centrist Yesh Atid party, tweeted a video that some have perceived as reinforcing antisemitic stereotypes about money-grubbing Jews.
Lapid, who is second on the Blue and White centre-left alliance’s list in the September Knesset election, has come under fire from political rivals on the right for the satirical video portraying a WhatsApp group chat between a number of political leaders who are asked to swear loyalty to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “the first of his name, messenger of God, leader of the right and father of dragons.”
The politicians present their demands, including Shas leader Aryeh Deri, who asks for “another trillion shekels for the yeshivas,” and United Torah Judaism chair Yaakov Litzman requiring “all the money in Israel.”
“Antisemitism. There is no other word,” Deri tweeted in response. Litzman compared the video’s message to the “dark periods in which Jews were portrayed as greedy persecutors.”
In response, Lapid accused Litzman of protecting pedophiles – police recently recommended he be charged for using his influence to do that. Lapid also said he was unimpressed given that “there is real antisemitism in the world” and Jews are being “shot in synagogues.”
Netanyahu posted in a tweet of his own that Lapid’s “incitement” and “antisemitic tone” show why he must not be prime minister.
Blue and White leader Benny Gantz later tweeted a message, ostensibly aimed at Netanyahu but likely a jab at his political partner, saying that “the strength of Israeli society lies in its unity in all its parts – secular and religious, Jewish and non-Jewish, left and right.”