JERUSALEM — Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, a former justice minister who crusaded against Orthodox control over Jewish religious affairs in Israel, quit the secularist Shinui Party on Wednesday, citing its poor prospects in the March election.
A Holocaust survivor and veteran journalist with a flair for courting controversy, Lapid led Shinui in the 2003 election, when it became Israel's third-biggest party in parliament.
But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's new centrist party, Kadima, has undercut Shinui's middle-class support base. Surveys predict Shinui may not get enough votes to win even one seat in the March 28 poll.
"In its current configuration, Shinui does not deserve the public trust. A chapter in my life, a chapter I am proud of, is over and done with," Lapid, 74, told reporters.