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AP Interview: Former TV journalist could give moderate face to next Israeli government

  • 60ba319ff1b7c701260f6a706700c491.jpg

    Yair Lapid, popular former TV anchorman and head of the new centrist party Yesh Atid, poses for a portrait at his house during an interview for the Associated Press, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, June. 16, 2013. Lapid predicted he will one day become prime minister and said he would fight for a more moderate policy towards the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) (The Associated Press)

  • 3e9311f7f1b6c701260f6a706700d80b.jpg

    Yair Lapid, popular former TV anchorman and head of the new centrist party Yesh Atid, poses for a portrait at his house during an interview for the Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, June. 16, 2013. Lapid predicted he will one day become prime minister and said he would fight for a more moderate policy towards the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) (The Associated Press)

  • 2ca84394f1b5c701260f6a706700f1d4.jpg

    Yair Lapid, popular former TV anchorman and head of the new centrist party Yesh Atid, poses for a portrait at his house during an interview for the Associated Press in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, June. 16, 2013. Lapid predicted he will one day become prime minister and said he would fight for a more moderate policy towards the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty) (The Associated Press)

Israeli political newcomer Yair Lapid says he will drive a hard bargain if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants him to join the next Israeli government.

Polls show Netanyahu's Likud Beitenu Party is likely to emerge as the largest bloc next week's parliamentary election, putting him in position to form a new coalition government. While Netanyahu will probably be able to form a coalition with hard-line and religious parties, he is widely expected to court Lapid in order to bring a more moderate face to the government.

Lapid says he will have firm demands. Speaking to The Associated Press on Wednesday, he said he would demand that Netanyahu change the controversial practice of giving welfare payments to unemployed Jewish seminary students and revive peace talks with the Palestinians.